We took with us three dogs, one bicycle, and George.
Resolved to take the keenest volunteer out, I put the halter on Bridget first, as she was first to the gate, but George came up behind at the last minute and had something to say about that. I might have insisted on Bridget but allowed George to change my mind. As I stood by the open gate, with an alarmed Bridget pressing into me, while George pressured Bridget from behind, I realized that the situation was very much less dire and scary than a similar scenario would have been a few months ago. George and Bridget are more comfortable together, and I am less reactive.
The halter was put on George, and out he came, full of spirit and curiosity. He was very dubious about the bike at first and reacted dramatically every time it drove past. This was as close as he would go.
We wandered down the road a half mile or so and then turned up the lane toward the alpaca farm. The neighbor's two pintos came prancing over to their fence and stood whinnying at George. He was somewhat interested in them, but there were so many things to catch his attention, and - after all - he knows what horses are already.
Sometimes - in a burst of energy - we ran together. I discovered that if we synched the movement of my legs with his forelegs, we could run together quite comfortably. Usually the pace is either too slow for him or too fast for me, but somehow when we ran in step, it worked out for both of us. I found it easier to run farther (like, in my case, that means 50 yards instead of 15). When I run normally, I think I'm always trying to move my body forward, but running with George, I was only conscious of moving my legs, and my body just got moved in the process. Once we were in step, I could keep pace just by listening to the footfalls.
George overcame his fear of the bike and sniffed the front tire.
A beautiful sunset lit our way home. George stopped many times to look and listen into the distance.
We stopped for a little grazing as we came close to home again. There is still plenty of green grass out there - I wish I could turn the horses loose into great wide world to eat it instead of keeping them in their overgrazed pasture. Oh well, it's only in the last couple of days that they've been finishing their one bale of hay in less than 24 hours - so we've had it good so far this winter compared to last.
I received a very welcome gift this Christmas - a new copy of Empowered Horses from my kind husband. I've already given two copies away, but it would be rude to give away a present, so this one stays! I'm looking forward to re-visiting the book in light of the things I've learned since last reading it.