Took Dandy for his first outting with 5 other horses. First we left our stables as a group or three, two very seasoned horses leading and me leading him in hand behind. It’s a 10 minute walk to the meeting point with the other riders, walking along the highway (with cars and trucking zooming by at 130 km/h !), above the river on a threatening bridge, and *underneath* the highway, under an even scarier bridge. Dandy took all of that in stride, and aside from a mini heart attack in the first 10 yards, he behaved perfectly.
Later on we walked on roads, crossed small villages with barking dogs and farting lawn mowers, crossed more impressive and noisy stone bridges. He felt concerned about 3 times, and borderline overwhelmed twice, but every single time he regained his composure and stayed *under his OWN control* without me having to do anything more than putting a hand on his withers to say “it’s ok, I got you, you can do this”.
The vast majority of the ride looked like THIS (video clip).
Because he’s been educated to leave other horses alone, he stays at a polite distance of them. He draws confidence from the herd (he would never have been that chilled taking the same route by himself) but is very content following at the back. And because he’s short and has a lazy pace, he needs to make up the distance at the trot every few minutes. Lots of horses gets antsy as the group moves further apart, but he trots along to catch back with them with his nose on the ground and without the slightest desire to overheat, run, etc.
I can’t say of proud I was of him at the end of that ride. If I’d been a horse, I would have been very challenged by it, but at not yet 3 yrs of age he rose to the task and owned it like a pro (he actually was more relaxed and quieter than several of the older and way more seasoned horses in the group…). Way to go Babyyyy ❤