Well I learned a few very important lessons today. The first being that Phoenix likes to lead, he likes to be out front with a clear trail, he acts better, listens well and is less spooky. This is good to know.
Secondly that when out with another owner/rider/horse whatever... to never again go out with an owner that is just as unprepared on the trail as me, also never go out with someone who won't listen and respond to requests.
So i've been taking Phoenix for walks each day across to the park while he cools off after work. We've been thoroughly enjoying our walks and have been doing little exercises and it's generally been a very pleasant experience for us both. Today one of the other boarders asked if she and her small horse could tag along on our walk. I thought sure, why not. It'll give me a chance to see how phoenix does with another horse there.
So she tacked up and I untacked (i wasn't planning on riding, just walking like we've been doing), she said she would walk with us and then go off and ride on her own. The first half of the walk went great, Phoenix was in front and was nice and calm and attentive, he only sidestepped once and it was tiny.
Then we stood around and talked at the carpark so Phoenix could eat a bit and relax before the walk back. The other owner decided she wanted to ride back, I thought Phoenix would be okay with this and it would give me a chance to work on keeping a nice distance between him and the horse in front.
She got on and rode off at a walk, I followed. Phoenix decided he needed to be really close to the horse in front so I circled him and kept nudging on the lead rope to slow him down. It was working, he was backing off. I had about a good horses length between me and the horse in front, granted Phoenix was pulling slightly and he nudged me with his shoulder s few times but I didn't feel out of control of him.
Well the owner in front trotted off, she wanted more space and off she went, no warning nothing. Rounded the corner and left us, Phoenix got anxious and spooked. I don't want to say luckily but i'm going to, he was right next to me and didn't get a chance to get up any speed and he spooked right into me, he nudged me sidewards and his knee hit my thigh and knocked my leg out from under me. I yelled at him and he stopped dead.
So i'm there bent double with a completely dead leg and the other owner was still trotting away, I had to yell at her to stop. So I limped back to the barn from the trail and she stayed on the trail to continue her ride. After he spooked and nailed me phoenix stopped trying to be pushy, he stayed right by my side at a nice slow pace since I was limping, if he was shorter I would have gotten on him and rode home.
Next time I go out i'll either go alone of insist on being at the front.
So yeah, my leg hurts and is going to bruise up really nicely. It could have been worse, he could have broken my leg or just run right over the top of me.
The trail ride I was worried about didn't end up happening after all, the guy didn't show up. All that worry for nothing. Maybe if i'm not sore i'll get to try it next weekend.