Dawn had a well-deserved day off today. Red was a little bit sore yesterday, although he improved as we worked - I think we've been working a bit too hard and he needs more walking rides interspersed with his trot work. So today I was planning to just have a walking ride, working on our small circles.
But it was a beautiful day - sunny, in the 40sF and with almost no wind. And Red was very relaxed on the cross ties as I groomed. So, although there was no one else at the barn, the outside beckoned. Normally, for a first ride outside - not just in the outdoor arena but in the big pastures - I'd want another horse along, but I figured, why not?
So I saddled up and led Red out into the big pasture. He'd been out there being led to the outdoor arena on a couple of occasions, and had done a few short walks under saddle into the close end of the pasture, but he'd really never been out there under saddle.
He led down the very steep hill from the barn without once dragging his left hind - a first - and stood beautifully for me to mount from the ground. And off we went - all over the big pasture, including into areas he'd never been. We did some across and up and down hill work, although we avoided the steepest descents. We did a lot of small circle work at the walk. He could see the heavy traffic on the road. Nothing bothered him, and we walked all over on a loose rein. He seemed delighted to be out there, and disappointed to be going back inside. I think he's got the makings of an excellent trail horse - he's curious and interested and likes a challenge. I was delighted with him, and told him so.
Pie and I also had a very nice ride in the pasture, also by ourselves - it was getting a lot colder as the sun went down. He was extremely forward with great impulsion - forward didn't used to be a Pie characteristic, but he's clearly feeling very good now - and we did some very nice trot work, including lots of small circles working on our tracking up.
A truly delightful day with horses!