Echo was slightly awkward in the school on Tuesday - she just didn't seem to be in the mood really. I was practising the leg-yielding, but it felt sluggish and difficult, which was making me annoyed. I persevered, although I probably should have just moved on to something else. I finally got some good steps and decided to leave it there and go for a walk round the cross country course. This was quite successful as last time we did this, she was very spooky and kept jumping at things. I guess this time she was too tired to shy! Even when two small irritating ponies came thundering gleefully up their field next to us, she only had a little look, then kept walking. I was able to canter past them up the hill after that too - big improvement!
I was going to school her yesterday as well, as Tuesday had not quite gone according to plan, but as I was tacking up, a lady at the yard asked me if I wanted to go for a 'little wander'. This sounded more appealing and I assumed it would only be a short hack. We ended up going out for about an hour and a half! Admittedly, a lot of that was walking, but we did several good stretches of trot, and had some canters too. What was really good about yesterday was that it was our first time out for a proper hack with someone other than our usual partners. The horse we went out with is in Echo's field, so they know each other well, but it's funny - she was very different with the new friend!
When we are out with Jem, the horse we usually hack with, Echo is totally submissive to her, as Jem is very much the boss of the field and Echo adores her. She is definitely the mother figure to all the others. However Rosie, who we hacked out with yesterday, is very different - she is definitely not the boss, and Echo wasn't sure whether she should take charge or not. As a result, there was much switching of places during the hack. Sometimes Rosie was in front, but she is a it smaller than Echo and we had to hold back a bit; sometimes Echo was in front and wasn't always sure that she liked it! She was actually very good, and got the hang of leading very well. We even led for the last canter, which was fantastic. We were coming up a hill and I was really able to put my leg on and stretch her out. It felt amazing.
The only slight mishap was on the way home - I really must start making Echo walk through puddles, rather than keep allowing her to step round them. She went to go round a big puddle, then realised that there was a small tree in the way. She then went round that as well and I had to duck right on to her neck in order to not get smacked in the face by the branches. However, the problem then was that I couldn't see where we were going, and Echo had to pick her own route through the trees to get back to her friend on the track. This was a bad idea, as she has very little spacial awareness with me on her back. We just about scraped through, but not without some loud expletives on my part! I had visions of being left dangling cartoon-style on a branch and watching Echo trot off into the distance!
When we got back it was almost dark and I gave Echo a feed as she had worked hard. I am starting to give her a feed after every time I ride now, in an attempt to keep weight on her this winter. She kept her weight last year, but I wasn't riding her so she got to keep all her energy to keep her warm. For a stocky little thing she is actually not that good a do-er. This may improve as she gets older, however, as she is still only a baby.