Since Colin has expressed interest in going trail riding, and since I thought it best for Princess Fancy Pants's first trail ride to be with a buddy, today we saddled up and headed out on the little trails on the back of our property.
First we did just a little walking around in the arena to make sure I had steering (as good as it gets for a pony who has just been backed) and whoa. I thought I'd have Colin lead the way on Mac, since he's the herd leader, and have the pony follow him. Well she had other ideas. She wanted to be in front, presumably so he could check out how cute her butt is. After a couple laps in each direction (and walking over a cavaletti while we were at it), I had Colin open the gate and out we went.
And wouldn't you know it, pony wanted to be in the lead! It was pretty funny! I thought for sure we'd follow Mac since I've regularly ridden him out on those trails, and I've ponied the pony a few times and hand walked her a lot, but he's been out there probably 3-5x more than she has. She didn't care, though!
She marched right out in front of him, lead the ride the whole way, and was very brave about it all. At one point some deer went jumping through the brush in front of us (in an area where they hang out, they didn't cross our path but we scared them off) and pony sort of startled and spooked in place and a little cluck and encouragement and she just kept walking! What a brave pony! We did one lap of the big loop in each direction and then went back to the barn. When we headed for the barn she didn't act barn sour at all - no rushing to get back, just an easy walking along just like on the way out.
She got much much praise and lots of cookies in her bucket. Mac was a good boy for Colin and overall it was a great first outing on the trails!