My beloved Penny has been back with me since June 28th. On August 5th I FINALLY started riding her again. It's been on and off since then. I'm learning the trails and gaining confidence with each new ride. It's funny that when I get on her I'm mentally riding her from years ago... when she was a real pistol. She keeps amazing me. She is so grown-up now. She's such a willing little trooper. I'm delighted to report that tonight we went on our first SOLO ride. I thought I wouldn't make it down the driveway or even around the field without a fight, but with a little pressure and some encouraging words she put one foot infront of the other and off we went.
We did well until we crossed the road and walked up a portion of paved driveway. She REALLY didn't want to go, but again... a little pressure, a few firm words, and a tiny little crack and she reluctantly moved forward. There were some big scarey things on that old road like tarps and wood piles. This was the neighbor that reported seeing a rather large black bear this summer and thus I was not truly very dedicated to following this trail on my own. After we went far enough I turned her around and headed in a different direction. I figured it best to stay close to home just in case a mini disaster might occur... so I might be found and not left lying out in the wilderness with no way to reach anyone. (15 years ago that would not have even crossed my mind)
We went down a little hill into a rather dried up creek-bed. She was not very happy with this scenario. When she started to slide in the mud she got nervous, but a few calm words and encouragement and she stood in the midst of it without any major fuss. Now... if there were only some WATER in that creek we'd be making great strides. (although I suspect that someone spent some time working with her on crossing water in the past couple of years.)
We zig-zagged all over the forrest behind the barn. There are very nice trails that are trimmed and wide enough to ride two-wide. We went up the hill and down and around and over the river and thru the woods... you get the idea. She worked up quite a sweat and we leisurely walked back home. I'm so pleased!!!! This solo ride was a milestone... like I'm chipping away at my goals one ride at a time. It's fantastic!!!
Now if I'd just learn to TAKE the camera with me! I even strapped on the saddle bag that K got me for my birthday, but didn't have anything in it. Ugh.
The barn-time came to a close after giving her a cool sponge bath and spoiling her with a couple of apples. What a way to close out my day!