Yesterday was a repeat of howling winds, leaves spinning like mini cyclones, and cold air blowing under Harley's tail. I almost considered not taking any chances as he'd spooked twice just getting up to the barn. But once I started brushing him, especially his face, (hypnotizing Harley) he quieted down, hanging his head into the crook of my arm. I decided not to be a chicken and got on board.
We ambled down the Orris Falls trail, Harley looking hard at squirrels darting across his path. I could sense him tensing up at one of his "blind corners" and pushed him onward. We got to the trail junction where he once again, tried heading for home over Big Bump. Circling twice, he gave up and relented. We were just getting to the brook crossing when two ducks flew up out of the beaver pond. He threw his head up, but surprisingly didn't spin. Through the water, through some ankle deep snow (still!), up to the downed beech tree blocking the trail, everything went just fine--my big brave boy. We turned back for home, and as we approached the brook, he suddenly spun left (as always), expecting another duck scare. Of course they were long gone, over in New Hampshire by now, but poor Harley didn't know that. We stopped, had a good gander at the pond, and quietly headed for home. We even got in a couple of quiet relaxed trots.
When I think back to where we were last summer with him, Harley has come a long way. I'm looking forward to getting out on the trails with some of the other local riders. He definitely needs more group riding experience before I'd deign to take him on an organized trail ride. It will just take time and mileage. Sometimes he amazes me, and sometimes I just have to laugh--another Thoroughbred moment.