Yesterday was Princess Fancy Pants's first outing away from home! We've of course been working on trailering, but I don't really count those excursions as outings because they were just drives around the block and back home.
Yesterday we went to another barn for a schooling session. I brought all my tack, not knowing if she'd be quiet enough for working with the trainer on getting on and leading around - but better to be prepared!
Well, it wasn't a getting-on-and-leading-around kind of excursion.
PFP loaded up and trailered there just fine (good girl!). When she stepped off the trailer, though, I think she was surprised to be in a new place and very looky! We had a short walk around to see the horses in their paddocks (and there were two adorable minis that she took a hard look at), and then went out to the arena area which shared a fence line with the horses turned out in the big pasture for lunch. That was pretty exciting until another trailer pulled up and unloaded a pony and THAT was very exciting. Luckily, the facility had a round pen, so I put her in the round pen to let her get it out. She leaped in the air, squealed, ran around a bit, and I picked up the lunge whip to use to get her attention (not by making her run forward, but just as a visual/auditory aid . . . along with stomping my feet or jingling my keys - I was trying to remember things from the Harry Whitney clinic I did last year). It seemed to work because she then settled and came to me for some security. I talked to the trainer and decided to just work her on my own for a little while since this was such a new experience for her. I went to my trailer and got my bridle and lunging cavesson and went back to the round pen where she was happy to see me.
She followed me around for a little bit and I gave her pats all over and then put on the bridle and cavesson and had a short little w-t-c lunge in each direction. She had settled down such that she was listening to me and responsive to my voice commands, so I called it a day on that. Took off the bridle and cavesson and gave her more pats and just stood with her for a bit.
I left her to go to the office to pay my haul-in fee and when I came back, the worker-guy was bringing in the pasture horses for dinner, so that was very exciting. I asked the trainer to help me load, just in case (I've heard stories where people bring their horses and they load up just fine on the first leg of the trip, but won't load up when it is time to go home!). Turns out, her assistance wasn't needed. Princess Fancy Pants walked right on the trailer, I closed up the doors and home we went!
She got a ton of cookies and carrots in her treat bucket when we got home and she went straight for her hay I had waiting for her.
All in all, it was a great first outing! I'll have to see if I can do that once a week to get her used to going new places - at least while the weather is still nice!