Drive ten: I was very pressed for time today, so I decided to drive Pilgrim without turning him outside first to let him run off some steam. I usually let him out after being in the stall all night but he has been so good lately, that I went ahead and drove him. We started off great but he was defiantly feeling his oats. We walked about a kilometer to warm up, then trotted and walked for another kilometer.
We were walking down a small incline that he had never been on this season because the bridge is out. Pilgrim saw a log that is half hidden by tall grass; Of course I was relaxed and got caught off guard to. He backed up 3 steps very fast and started to turn to the right while backing. I just said easy , tapped him with the whip to get him to stop backing, turned him back to the left back on the trail, we waited there about 15 seconds, I knew he was very nervous so we walked off the trail into the field , to the right of the log about 10 feet. He was keeping a close eye on the log as we walked by but no spooks. We then did about 6 circles around the log with no problem.
We then went to check out the dreaded spillway pipe, he didn't even give it a flick of the ear when we walked by. We are working on doing more circles and practicing more and tighter turns. We were doing one turn and I made my “hup, hup” noise that I do when we need to do a tighter turn, well it startled poor Pilgrim, he had never heard that noise before and had no idea what it meant. I think I need to get him used to that.
We were on our last trot up a long slight incline when we came out of the woods there was a heard of turkey in the field, that took one look at us and took off flying across the field. If we were facing the 12 on a clock, Pilgrim shied to the left and went trotting off towards 10:30, He never broke into a canter just a really strong trot, we went about 10 feet off trail, I just pulled him to the right slowed him down went right back to the trail without ever breaking stride.
Since Pilgrim is such a spook under saddle, I always wondered what would happen if he ever got scared of something in harness. If today is any inclination, I think he did great, he was never out of control, and never threatened to take off. He was never dangerous although I think I will let him run around a bit before I drive him next time.
We drove for 60 min.
This is a photo of the "LOG", I am almost to embarrased to show it. It is just to the right of his nose.