Today was another beautiful day for riding. Pie and I had a much better ride today, thanks to Jill (of Buckskin and Bay) and Scout. We did two nice loops away from and then back to the barn. We mostly walked, although Pie had to trot quite often to keep up with Scout's big walk. Pie mostly wanted to fall in behind Scout, and that was fine by me today - I just wanted him to have a nice, calm, enjoyable ride. On the first loop, we were passing through one of the few wooded areas on our trails - most are pretty open - when there was a crashing in the woods to one side. Both horses were alarmed - it was some boys off from school playing in the woods. We called to them to come out on the path, and the horses were much happier. Pie gave one head shake as we turned back towards home, but I told him to stop and that was the end of any barn-bound behavior.
As we were on the trail heading back to the barn, there was a piece of children's clothing lying in the trail. Scout was a bit perturbed, but Pie was happy to walk right up and sniff it. On the second loop, there were some small boys riding bikes fast down a hill towards us, accompanied by their mother and a leashed dog. When we called out to them, they stopped and pulled their bikes to the side - very polite. Both Scout and Pie walked up to sniff the bike of one boy - he was giggling with delight. I think this may go a long ways to making Pie more comfortable with bikes and small children. On the way back home, there was a small child riding down the street on an extremely noisy small bike - both horses stared but were OK. When we got back to the barn, Jill took Scout inside to untack and, although he didn't really want to leave Scout, he trotted and then loped up the grassy slope behind the barn when I asked - good boy!
The ride was delightful and very comforting to Pie and me. Although I feel like it's an imposition, Jill has said that she'll ride with me from time to time so Pie can be more comfortable. I really appreciate it and told her so. I don't care that we didn't directly work on his buddy-bound issue - I just wanted him to have a good time today.
This afternoon I rode Dawn briefly. Before we rode, I fed her an apple, and then she had to spend several minutes licking my coat - she always does this after eating a treat. She was what my younger daughter and I call a "feist mare" - revved up and raring to go. But she did well, listening to me and actually getting a bit calmer as we rode. At the end of the ride, we stood on a loose rein for her to survey her domain and watch the horses being led into the barn - she didn't move a muscle and seemed to enjoy herself.
Pie was the last horse out, still eating from the round bale, and it was starting to spit rain. I went into the pasture to get him with his halter and called to him. He came trotting towards me . . . and then trotted right around me to the gate! It's pretty clear what his priorities are! I fed him an apple anyway since he's a good boy.
Pie's going to get two days off (or more if the weather requires). He deserves a break. We'll pick up our work again after that. I got a phone call from Pie's old owner, who was checking to see how we were doing together. I told him that Pie was a great horse, although of course at his age there were still some things to work on, and that he was a little barn-bound but that wasn't surprising. I think the old man was pleased to hear that I was happy with him and enjoying riding him - he was surprised by how much I'd been riding - his comment was "you must like him if you're riding him that much". He's right about that!