Yesterday I rode Sugar along with a friend (Amber) and her horse, Athena. Gail and I are trying to get both Ruby and Sugar out on the trail more. Last Sunday I rode with Amber and Gail on a really cool trail!
My last ride with Sugar yesterday was interesting. I came down a little late so I fed Ruby and took Sugar and saddled her. I didn't do groundwork because I was already late. Then Amber and I rode out together to my grandma's house by going through the hills and woods. It was a shorter ride because I didn't have time for a longer ride.
Sugar had been eating alfalfa and in general had some energy in her. I did some work on the trail with her but not enough as I should have. Especially since she's very new to trail riding. We were almost to my grandma's house, in between two steep hills behind my grandparents' house where it meets up to the main street. I was have Sugar go in circles before taking her around a gate when a neighbor's dogs started barking. In general Sugar is fine with dogs but she was in a jumpy mind and the sound of the dogs and couldn't see them spooked her. She felt trapped between the hills and decided to the crazy thing of running up the steepest park of the hill (which I didn't know she could do). She scared me to death, I was so surprised and was afraid of her slipping and rolling down the hill. She did slip a lot on her knees but I turned her back down and was able to make it to the bottom without any of us falling or getting injured. I then got off her and started moving her feet back, forward, left and right. I did mostly sending and backing. I worked her on the ground around the gate, up the little hill, onto the main street where it was even scarier for her because of all the houses, people, cars, sounds ect. She's never been or showed signs of been scared of vehicles of any kind and as I worked her down the street the results were amazing. She calmed down very fast and was had her focus on me. Only at the starting did she keep trying to run into my space ( I had her back out of my space immediately). I did the sending exercise down the street with ease and the best part of it was that there were dogs barking on all sides and she didn't care a bit about them. When we got to our grandparents I let her rest and desensitized her. I loved how it all turned out!
Sugar only spooked slightly when she saw some children come running out to play. I want her to get used to that. Children especially she get's scared of because they are always coming out of the middle of no where and are usually yelling or on fast bikes that make Sugar jump. I'm glad they're there! She needs to get used to that, being a arena horse her whole life.