We've been building to this for a while. I am not sure why, but Tuesday I decided was the day. I put a halter on Steele and led him out of the barn.
Walking with confidence I led him down to the bottom of the field, correcting when he got ahead or behind me. He tried a couple times to push me with his shoulder but I addressed that immediately. By the time we reached the bottom of the hill he was walking like a civilized horse- at my shoulder, respecting my space and ignoring the perfectly delectible grass at his feet. For him that's the hardest.
I decided to do the short trail that starts at the bottom of the hill, by the manure pile and other spooky items, through some swampy bits, a stream and in the trees. It comes out at the bottom of the second paddock.
We marched right along. He stopped in the swampy bits to sniff a bit. I gave him a few seconds and then walked on. Steele was like 'oh should we stop and check- nope I guess we're going.'
When he was really uncertain he wanted to walk right behind me. I would be okay with Irish because I know that he won't step on me. I was less certain with Steele but made it all along. I was very impressed- he looked at everything and spooked at nothing.
I imagine he and Irish had a late night conversation that went like this:
Steele: I went on a hack! Just like you.
Irish: Yes I know.
Steele: We went by some weird buildings and funny metal things.
Irish: They won't hurt you but sometimes small critters hide in them.
Steele: I know. Mom said I was so brave.
Steele: And then there was this mix of grass, water and mud. It tasted funny.
Irish: That part is scary at first but it won't suck you in.
Steele: I wasn't worried. Mom said that the first time she took you it took you 10 minutes before you'd put a toe in. I barely hesitated.
Irish: *rolls eyes* You young foals don't understand the dangers out there
Steele: It was kind of interesting. Then there were bird noises and other animals. Mom said they were squirrels. But I wasn't worried!
Irish: yes I know....
Steele: and then there was this running water. I wasn't sure but mom kept going so I followed. And then we went through more mud. I could hear you calling me!
Irish: well you could have answered!!
Steele:but you always say that you don't answer me because mom doesn't like it when we call when we're working.
Irish: working?! You were on a walk! You just wait until she puts the saddle on. Then you'll know what work is.
Steele: I think it will be fun! I can go exploring all sorts of places.
Irish: Well that is fun, mostly. She doesn't get us in trouble anyway.
Steele: I'm sure that I'll be awesome at it!! \
Irish: *sigh* yes, I'm sure. Now go to sleep!
Steele: But I'm not tired, I can stay up all nigh--------zzzzzzz