I have found a local riding partner! I'm not sure what Arabee thinks of the steed (stud?) :-) But it sure seemed to ease her and we were able to go farther and in places I would NOT have felt comfortable riding alone!
Yeah.....he's pictured below - the one in the black ball cap! The little girl in the gray hat w/ teal coat carried on his back is just so enamored with the horse that she wouldn't look at the camera (she loves getting her picture taken). Technically, the both of them together have 4 legs....no tail though :-)
With Matt carrying Cora on foot, we walked for 30 minutes through the woods on some farm trails, Arabee stuck right to his side more or less. It wasn't like he was leading her, but she didn't want to let him get too far away!
This next picture shows Arabee carefully negotiating through a stumpy/rooty area.
Proof that she'll drink out of puddles:
And this next picture shows a creek that had a still pool to Arabee's left, and ran off quite swiftly on towards her right. I was glad I got off to lead her through the first time - she jumped it! But after she got used to it she walked through very well under saddle a couple times. We walked up and down a steep hill, then headed back to the barn lot.
When we got to the gate (shown behind the picture of her drinking) she was blowing air pretty hard. Matt wasn't impressed - he thought he was carrying more weight that she was, but if you do the math he actually had it easier as weight carrying percentage of body weight, plus he didn't have to wear a saddle!
So we took it easy for about a minute of flat walking, then I asked Arabee to trot out for a couple of laps in the barn lot. This would have been close to 1/2 mile of trotting. She tried her headshaking bit at the place where often I have her slow to a walk in front of our garage (usually when Matt's working out there I don't know what noises to expect coming from there!) but I had her trot on and she seemed very surprised at this, but she wasn't in the least bit "off". So we trotted on BEAUTIFULLY, and eventually I walked her on a loose rein for probably 10-15 minutes to get her breathing back to normal. It was a really fun ride. Matt had fun too, he said, and Cora always likes being outside and going for walks. What fun family time!
The best part is my NON-HORSEY husband said next time he'll ride, and I can walk!! Maybe there's hope yet that there will be a "husband" horse in our future??? :-)
What's the best place to get a stethoscope? It would be good probably to learn how to take her pulse and keep track of this.