I took Sassy for her first walk last night. I thought I would have enough daylight to make it all the way around the block, but since I had to pick up Simon from practice first, it didn't quite work out that way.
When I got home, Tom had already fed the ponies, and Sassy wasn't so thrilled about being pulled away from her food. Once we got moving though she was fine.
She is such an easy horse. I gave her a loose lead and she walked gently behind me about 6 feet. Naturally she was constantly looking around at all the sights, which made me wonder if she was paying attention to me. at all. I found out for sure when I stopped and bent over to pick up a turkey feather for one of my grandsons. (He makes home made bow and arrow sets) I did not give her any warning, I just stopped and bent over, when I stopped she stopped and did not even come close to stepping on me. Good Girl!
We went on up our road, it was getting dark quick. About 5 houses down from ours is a pack of "wild" dogs. Not vicious dogs, but really noisy dogs. 2 Boxers, some sort of little rat dog, and a St. Bernard. They all came running out barking and yapping at poor Sassy.
I wasn't sure how she was going to react. When I got her, she was impossible to catch and her previous owners used dogs to chase her around so they could catch her. There for she isn't real fond of dogs. Especially barking dogs. In the time that I have had her, she has spent many hours in my dog yard mowing the lawn, and my dogs could care less about horses, so it has changed her opinion of dogs some. But still, she was getting it from all directions this time.
Let me just say that she totally impressed me last night. She never once balked, she never once pulled on the lead rope, she handled it like the "big girl" that she is. I stopped, she stopped, we turned together to face the dogs. She looked at the dogs with her ears up, she looked at me, she looked back at the dogs, and then looked at me. I gave her some rope and said, "Go ahead" She pinned her ears, put her head down and took 3 serious warning steps towards those dogs, the dogs ran away. She stopped before she hit the end of the rope, on her own, and came back to me. (Now I don't think she understood the words, but she was very aware of the length of rope she had and the minute I gave her more she knew what she wanted to do.) We walked on a ways, then turned around towards home and had to go past them again. One of the dogs ran up behind her barking and biting at her back feet. She kicked out at him, but kept on walking. I don't think she hit him, but it scared him off. Meanwhile the dogs owner's were trying desperately to round up their dogs. It was the boxers mostly, and those poor guys kept apologizing. Personally I didn't mind the training experience, but I told them, "If she hurts your dog, its your own fault." There is a leash law ya know. I probably would have been more bothered if I had been on her or if I didn't already know that the dogs were not vicious. But in that situation we were totally in control...unlike the dog owners.
About half way home we went past a house that has many horses. The horses aren't close though. All of a sudden she let out a loud blowing sound, you know the agitated sound, She didn't spook but just stopped for a second sniffed the air, and then turned towards home.
Throughout the entire walk I could hear Killian calling for her. I wondered if she would whinny back, but she didn't. She is the only one who isn't herd bound. Not sure why.
There was only one time where she started walking past me, and that was as we were coming up in the driveway. As soon as she did I stopped, asked her to move to the left, and she calmly walked around me and got back into the "safe" zone. Then we went in.
I have to tell you, she hasn't always been this good. She was pretty wild when I got her. Most of what she knows is a result of Jay. Either from when he took her for two weeks and worked with her, or just the lessons he gave me. Anytime we have found something that bothered her, we subjected her to it twice as much until she wasn't. It made a huge difference. I will say though that in the last year, she has grown up a lot mentally. She really isn't a "filly" any more, but a mare.
So even though we didn't go far and we were attacked by the "pack of wild dogs", our walk really was so easy...like a walk in the park. Today I talked to my boss. I am changing my hours so I come in earlier and go home earlier so I have more daylight for our walks. It was actually fun, and I learned that one of us is really out of shape!