When I awoke to rain this morning, I was a little bummed. Getting out nearly every day has helped Lance's behavior so much, I didn't want to get sidelined by the weather. But the drizzle quit this afternoon, so I headed out to exercise him, grabbing my mailbox key on the way out so we could ride down the gravel lane to get the mail.
It's hard to explain why I thought this was an okay thing to do. I mean, I've spent very little time with this horse, and he's young and green as grass. I've only ridden him a handful of times and only once outside of an arena; that was with a group and while he was in regular training. But I feel like I know and can trust Lance more than I ever did either Larry or Cohort. "His" song – our song – comes to mind. He is definitely a "heart horse"....
Not that I was a complete fool about it, mind you. I wore my helmet, had my cell phone zipped into my vest pocket, and dismounted to retrieve our mail from our locked mailbox. We encountered lots of scary things on the ride down – black plastic caught in the trees, a real estate sign, a big green trash bin blown over on its side – and he held it together pretty well. After I had the mail in hand he spooked at something, slipped in the mud and actually went down on one knee, reinforcing my earlier decision to lead him the quarter of a mile back home. Once there, I mounted again and rode him in the arena another 15 minutes or so, where he was a good boy.
An interesting tidbit: Lance tends to lean on my right leg a bit, and his mane lays to the left – both of which are opposite of Horton.