Great time riding outside tonight! The ice was all gone so I was able to avoid the road and ride through the little brook. I had to get off and lead him across but hopefully he'll get over that real quick. Once in the roped off area he settled right down. Easy peasy... well, mostly. My daughter rode him after I went around at a walk for about 10 minutes and could see he was totally relaxed. He was just as quiet for her. She walked and trotted over poles. He never got worked up. Until an ATV went flying down the road behind him. He spooked and this took my daughter by surprise. He just kind of crow-hopped and then she reined him in, but lost her balance and slid right off him at the shoulder. She landed on her butt in the grass and Haley just stood beside her looking surprised. I helped her up and she was startled, but not upset. This is not her first fall, but it's her first off Harley. A good reminder to stay on our toes when riding outside. It was unfortunate because everything had gone perfectly until then. But she got back on and we ended on a high note. She wants to do it again tomorrow so I don't think she was too shaken.
Our ride back to the barn was good until we got really close to the barn and then he sort of lost it. I rode past the entrance which got him pretty stressed. Then I backtracked a bit and rode past in the other direction. He started getting really anxious at that point. He began sort of cantering in place sideways and I felt he was going to explode and that my safety was in jeopardy. So I calmly directed him towards the barn, dismounted in the yard, untacked him and then led him right back out to where he'd had his meltdown. I led him back and forth several times. The first time we rode past the entrance he tried to push into me hard (I was between him and the barn). I snapped the lead line against his check and he moved back in line and didn't try that again. After 4-5 times I took him back to his paddock and released him. I expected him to run off and kick up his heels, but instead he was stuck to melike velcro. Funny guy.
So should I try dismounting before we get too close to the barn and try leading him the rest of the way next time? I felt I had better control on the ground. And as for him spooking at the ATV, he's just going to have to get used to them. DH and I both have one and I plan to use mine for barn chores since it has a great little trailer. After a while I think he'll just ignore them.