I went for a trail ride today.
I'm taking this as a victory. I rode Theo out in the open in the middle of winter. Like riding in corn fields out in the open. I only felt like crying once and only begged for 'my mommy and vodka' once. For the most part I did fine and even took pictures.
Theo didn't put a foot wrong during our school in the arena or during our 20+ minute trail ride. Thank you, Theo, for being a damn saint even when your mom is convinced things are going to go wrong. Let's be fair, I have a long history of Theo melting down when taken somewhere new and exposed. But I've also been stuck in the role of 'advanced rider' which means Theo is in the front and has to cope with whatever meltdown is happening behind him. It's not relaxing.
I'm sure it was confusing for my friend on Legs that knew me with Fiona. Back when I was addicted to hunter paces and was known to do three or four hour trail rides. All of a sudden going out for a trail ride with friends was outside of my reach. I was genuinely terrified when they pointed to the trail we were going to follow. No trees, no cover, and Theo had never seen it before. Oh, and Legs had bolted on this trail in the recent past. I nearly backed out but my friend gave me a look and I followed them out to the great unknown. Which turned out to really be the great unknown because I didn't know about any of these loops or fields we can ride on. H/J barn with trail riding? Wow.
It was awesome. Theo was so happy to get out of the indoor and just walk around. About half way through I actually relaxed and let go of his face, earning a big snort and sigh from my patient pony. With two perfect trail ponies for company, this was not problem for him. By halfway through, it was no problem for me, either.
I guess I'll be participating in Saturday trail rides with my friends in the future. Theo is thrilled.