I got home after work, scrambled to the barn, and gathered up Ransom. "It's gonna be a dressage day!" Well, that was the plan.
The weather, well, was perfect. Sunshiney, gentle breeze, and it was too hard to pass up. Ransom was glancing down the road while I was saddling.
I got my half chaps on, helmet attached, even my gloves. Ransom was all dressed & ready. I flipped a bucket upside down, and hopped on. *Note, I saddle up at the trailer, in my side yard.*
See, I figured, if I'm going to be on HorseMaster, if I'm going to try to learn how to jump, if I'm going to start riding Training Level at unfenced arenas this season, I better learn how to ride outside of my own yard. Ransom's a "been there, done that", and I ought to get over my fears.
So to get over those fears, we've got to start somewhere! I checked the girth just before mounting, and we were good to go. I muttered to Ransom, "This isn't the day to spook, goof off, or test my security. Go easy on me."
He tip toed down the road away from home. And I do mean tip-toed. Itsie bitsie steps, for the first few hundred yards. I was just about to relax, when a neighbor and their yapping dog startled us. Well, me, at least.
I said to the neighbor, "He's 20, I've had him a bit over a year, and this is the first time we've come down the road. I have NO CLUE what he's going to do about that dog. Heads up!" Ransom and the dog stood facing each other a bit, dog barking nervously. Finally, I decided, "Enough's enough", and I urged Ransom forward. The dog darted into the trees, still barking a fit, and Ransom was unshaken. I relaxed my grip on the reins, when I saw my knuckles were white. Ransom and I made it down the road, oh, about three driveways.
Thinking that was good enough, I started walking him home. As we approached the yard, the Monster decided we needed more, and he tugged me away from the house, only this time up the dirt road (towards the mailboxes). We disagreed about this choice just a bit, him tugging away from home, me tugging towards. I decided t'was easier to agree, and his forward stepping walk showed he was enjoying himself. Romeo nickered at us as we meandered back away from home again.
We made it up the road, around the first curve, but not quite to the second driveway, when another neighbor in their car approached from behind. With said neighbor comes a not so horse friendly (or car friendly, for that matter) dog of larger stature and slightly less mental capability. Okay, so the dog chases cars and horses. I was not amused. When it became apparent the dog was going to pursue us, I headed back towards home.
Ransom and I had ridden away from the house up & down the road, for about 20 minutes. I walked him back to the arena, much against his better judgment. I laughed at him hard when he stopped at the slightly muddy patch before the arena. He did NOT want to go to the arena. His disposition sunned back up when I let him trot & canter big on light contact. That and a little more walking, and we went back to the trailer. (I never closed the arena gate, but simply left it open. So I didn't dismount at all during this ride.)
Total ride? About 35 minutes. Experience? Ransom trail rides, in his own little way. Give him rein, he'll stretch long and low, and relax more than I could've figured he would. A pretty neat time.