She doesn't come to me in the pasture, but she doesn't run away either (she used to do that). She usually picks up her head, looks at me, and then goes back to grazing to get in those last few minutes. Here she is pretending she doesn't see me:
We went back to the barn, groomed and tacked up. We took our favorite route past the pretty pond to the north of the barn. We saw a Great Blue Heron fly up, and there were some small diving ducks on the water, but I didn't get a picture of those.
Then we crossed behind the soccer nets along a line of trees:
Past the soccer field, the trail runs along a state highway that is about to be widened - they just started work on it this week. And here was our first piece of earth-moving equipment - a big dump truck. Maisie barely gave it a glance.
Then, across the road towards the school:
Since school was out for the summer, the playground equipment was silent - it's often teeming with children:
Then we passed along an overgrown section of the trail neither of us like much - it's curvy but you can't see around the corners and we've often come too close to bikers for my liking:
We passed by the underpass to the other side of the road - we weren't going that way today:
Then there was another piece of equipment - I've never seen one like it before - it looked a bit like a giant lawn aerator - I suppose it texturizes the soil for some reason:
And then there were two very large excavators:
At this point we were the farthest from home - here's the view back over the prairie:
We were on the path leading across the road and over the railroad crossing - but we were turning off to the right:
Past the town information kiosk:
And we even saw a commuter train - this one was an express and blew its horn (very loudly) several times, which unsettled Maisie a bit:
And then we turned back towards home. Although Maisie had been very alert on the way out, she had been very willing and not spooky. This was by far the longest trail ride we had taken yet this year, and I think she finally realized how far she was from the barn. She became very focussed on getting back, and wasn't really interested in walking quietly. She wanted to walk fast, we slowed. She wanted to jig, we slowed and did serpentines. But she still wasn't very calm - I didn't think she would do anything very bad, but thought she might have a better chance to calm down if I led her, so I dismounted and led her on the trip home. I could have ridden all the way home, but got a calmer horse this way. She never did entirely settle, but we walked home at a nice, regular, not too fast pace that I set.
We also stopped and stood for a bit on a loose rein several times. When we got fairly close to the barn, I got back on using a handy retaining wall - Maisie is 16.2 and I don't mount from the ground - my knees can't take it and it's not good for her back either. As we walked up to the barn, she started calling - she hadn't called once up to this point. We walked around a bit, and also stood for a while in a couple of places. Then she went in and had her dinner.
When she hasn't been on the trail a lot, she can be a little herd-bound. She's also in heat right now, and that makes her a little more clingy. But she did very well on our ride considering how long it was. Next ride will be a little bit better - she likes the trail but needs to get used to these long rides again.