I'm seriously feeling like a "big girl" now.
Ollie and I had our lesson on Tuesday with Julie Congleton at her Heronwood Farm in Midway, KY. I hitched up my gooseneck trailer with only a little bit of help from another boarder, loaded up the truck, loaded up my horse and away we went!
To get to Midway from the boys home is simply the most beautiful drive in all of Kentucky. I am NOT exaggerating. We travel down a road called Pisgah Pike. If any of you saw the movie Secretariat, the funeral scene took place at historic Pisgah Church on (you guessed it) Pisgah Pike. There are many famous racing farms along the road as well. The most impressive is WinStar Farm. You can see their training track from the road as well as many of the historic registered buildings. If you ever get to Lexington, just drive down Pisgah Pike. I guarantee your jaw will be on the ground with the beauty of the area.
So Ollie and I are motoring down Pisgah Pike. At times I had a tight grip on the wheel because Kentucky roads do not have shoulders. They are narrow and not quite made for two pick up trucks to pass easily. One truck has to ease one side of the truck off the road... As you can imagine, I was a little bit wider with a horse trailer behind me. But we made it no problem. I kept telling myself that very large horse trailers (much bigger than me) travel down this road all the time going to the various farms.
We also drove through the quaint historic town of Midway. It's super sweet and I recommend it as a stop for anyone visiting the area.
Eventually, we got to Julie's farm. Ollie was good and didn't have a nervous sweat at all. He was a little bit wide eyed but he was always listening to me.
We tacked up, got on and had our lesson. He was, as expected, nervous in the new surroundings. This was what I wanted us to go through with watchful eyes from the ground. Julie was there helping me with ideas of things to do when I could see he was getting anxious. He chomped on his bit a lot, whinnied often but otherwise was doing as I asked of him. We kept him moving and changing directions all the time. We gave him a nice walk break and after that break he really settled down. Anytime he started to get anxious again, I would ask him for a leg yield. We were awesome at it! He also began to drop his giraffe neck and swing his legs nicely at the trot. I rode him for about an hour. He was covered in sweat but otherwise in good order. It was a warm humid day, so I untacked him and hosed him off. He was much more comfortable after that. He loaded right back on the trailer and quietly munched on his hay while looking around. He seemed very relaxed at this point.
I picked up all my belongings and loaded my truck up and talked to Julie. She told me that from Ollie's viewpoint, the trailer meant racing. He would ship over to a track, get out, race and ship back out. Ollie raced 61 times for 7 yrs. and that's what he knows. She said he was, in the scheme of things very good! He got through the experience and realized we didn't ask much of him except to listen to us. Julie and I both expect him to improve the more he goes on "field trips."
I have another lesson next week at Julie's farm. Julie also recommended to me that I take him out and about. I have many options. One of the wonderful things about living in Lexington is the park system. They have parks for people to take their horses for rides. One of them has a cross country course on it as well as a riding arena. We'll have to meet up with a friend over there as another field trip.
My goal is to get Ollie to a point where we can attend a clinic or two. Maybe we get to a show. At least now we are taking big strides toward those goals.