Sunday, May 18, 2008

My horse's first encounter with an ATV

Today my horse and I went on our third trail ride together. (Click here to read about my first trail ride and my big fall, and my birthday horseback ride.) We went with just one other horse and owner (Susie and her horse, this time).

Panama did really well on today's trail ride. He did better crossing the street (I led him across on foot, like last time), and was much less panicked than before by things such as children, dogs, bicycles, and unexpected gusts of wind. He even consented to walking through shallow sections of the creek!

The really big step, though, was his first encounter with an ATV. At one point during our ride, we came upon two men and a bunch of kids, riding their ATVs back and forth on a really hilly section of the trail. We stopped, and Susie began asking if I wanted to turn back so that Panama wouldn't spook. Panama, however, didn't seem to be scared — though he did, of course, watch the ATVs pretty closely.

Before we could turn around, though, the guys saw us and parked their ATVs alongside the trail to let us pass. Panama walked by the parked ATVs without spooking, but he certainly kept his eye on them, turning his head to inspect them as we passed. He also gave them a wide berth, but without any dancing or fussing. I was really impressed with how he handled it!

I'm not sure if it's because he is more comfortable with Susie's horse (an older gelding who took Panama under his wing when Panama first arrived at this barn), or if it's because he is feeling more sure of himself out on the trail, but I definitely noticed an improvement in my horse's behavior during today's trail ride!

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