Rode today, headed North first to switch things up a bit. Trotting alternated with walking all the way to the stop sign, then to Harlan's house. Even when she wasn't completely focused on me, I still asked her to trot and worked on transitioning from walk to trot to walk, which not surprisingly helped get her focus back on me.
I tried to take her North across the bean field, but it was too sloppy so we stuck to the lane and then rode along the filter strip, then turned around and followed the river back, and I had her step up to the river's edge to drink (and she did!). I saw a live crawdad as we passed - it was threatening us with it's pinchers....I don't think I'd ever seen the actual animal before, always just their holes. This whole way still trot, walk, trot, walk...and doing really well with it.
When we got back to the lane, I decided to test the cornfield to see how wet it was...and it was okay so we walked South in the field in the combine track where the cornstalks had been smashed down and easy to walk on (not sinking in too much). In the field across the ditch a pair of deer, I'm guessing a doe and last year's fawn ran from the river back to the cover of the woods. Arabee walked the whole way in a half-circle pointed towards the barn....but stayed in a nice 4-beat walk. We followed the ditch, then followed the path where the silage chopper had been last fall where the ground was drier. I didn't really have Arabee's full attention, but she was quietly walking (with b.i.g. strides) on a loose rein so I thought it best to reinforce that nice forward walk by allowing her to do it! She gave a big spook when we reached the top of the hill at I don't know what, but calmed down quickly, and we trot, walk, trotted again until we T-ed into the lane again. I had her walk in the water-filled tire tracks, which she didn't much want to do, but finally realized I meant it and did so nicely.
As we came past Harlan's house we met him and his dog coming back from their walk, and stopped to talk for a bit. The dog thought he might try to run off the intruding horse, and lunged at her barking and growling, but Harlan hollered at him and he stopped. Arabee was surprisingly okay with that - she brought her head up sharply, but didn't move. Good girl! It was nice to talk with Harlan, and I spread the rump rug out over her hindquarters since her butt was to the wind, then we walked back to the road, and trotted up to the top of the hill and turned into the driveway by the toolshed. I dismounted there and handwalked in the rest of the way home. She's been giving me trouble walking past Marshall's, and I thought me being on foot might give her added confidence for next time. I rode for 1 hour.
When we got to the barn lot I pretended I had a heart rate monitor and pressed it against her side, then felt her back and rump muscles, did a skin tent test, and checked her gum, and did the same on the other side. We then trotted out, turned, and trotted back. I offered her a drink at the puddle, then wiped off her girth area and cleaned her legs just like I plan to do at a real ride. It can't hurt to get into the same routine at home as I plan on putting into practice at a ride.