- Cell phone strapped to my leg
- a small hoof pick, it's NH and we have an amazing number of rocks that are the perfect size to get wedged in a hoof
- a piece of baling twine just in case of equipment failure
- a map of the trail network, but that's because my lack of a sense of direction is absolutely famous, my mare has had to get me home before
- a couple treats for the mare as a reward if she has to face down something really epic, like the group of skateboarding teenagers we bumped into once. Gave the treat to a skateboarder to feed her and now she likes skateboards
- bells and blaze orange in hunting season, introduce bells AT HOME in the ring. Trust me.
- vocal cords, we discuss everything and I serenade her with Queen, this also helps with hunt season
I second the comment on using shoulder in and other lateral work when your horse isn't focusing. Shoulder fore and shoulder in are my default responses to the princess thinking there might be something spooky in the bushes. Also leg yields back and forth across the trail when she's jigging. It works wonders to bring her mind back to focusing on me. Once she's back with me, I let her chew the reins out of my hands and go back to her relaxed, swinging walk on the longer rein. Just repeat this exercise until they get the idea that not jigging/spooking results in not having to do lateral work.
As others said, I eased her into the solo jaunts slowly and with lots of confident riding. Now she'll go just about anywhere on her own and it's worth all of the time I invested. She used to freak out and I had to walk her home on foot. Now she's a calm, trustworthy trail horse.
Hahaa...I hack out every day bc I have no ring. ALL our work is done in the woods-1-2 hours a day out there. At the end of our ride, we always go out to the end of the driveway to get the mail. Yesterday, as we wandered out on the buckle, we spied our neighbors' 2 new WHITE goats on the hill across the road. They were 300 yards away. My horse jammed on his brakes, got V-E-R-Y tall, heart POUNDING under my leg, eyes bulging. It was really quite amazing how completely terrified he was. We stood like that for 15 minutes. His feet were cemented to the ground. I finally got him to take 2 steps toward them then asked him to turn for home. He was snorting like the Black Stallion. He bounced and bucked and snorted and spun all the way back to the barn. By the time we got back he was covered in sweat and had to have a shower where he stood SNORTING. Back in his room, he stared out the window and kept up the snorting-he could hardly eat his supper. So, point being, you never know.
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.