I went for an evening trail ride today with Belinda and Bonnie. Belinda has a 14 year old QH/Paso mare named Jesse and Bonnie has a 24 year old paint mare called Ginger. They are both great horses. Jesse is currently in attitude training for her kicking habit and she is learning quickly! I got to the barn about 2 hours before the ride time and started working with Boomer. I lunged him at the canter for a solid 30 minutes and then I got on him to 'test ride'. I decided to lunge him first because it was a little chilly and windy. On our 'test ride' around the hill he was very good and never balked or spun. So, I put him in the cross ties until the other ladies showed up and lunged him lightly while they were tacking up. We left the barn going towards the road which we had never done before and rode along the highway for about a 1/4 mile. Boomer did very well! We stopped at a neighbors house to invite her along but she wasn't able to ride with us. So, we kept going along the gravel road (it had been sealed, so it looked like gravel but was hard packed) for quite a ways. Boomer hesitated at a dirt road that leads back to the property, but I could kick him on easily. He did balk once over a bridge and I had to get off to school him from the ground (I hold the reins in my left hand and slap him on the rump to get him to hustle around me). The ladies kindly waited and Boomer was fine once I got back on. After that, he balked once or twice more, but was easy to get back on track without dismounting. We were out for about 1.5 hours and just rode along the back roads. Afterwards I lunged him and put him away. It was a great way to test Boomer's boot camp training. So far, so good! I am happy with how his training is going and I think I will start working him more while riding rather than lunging. Maybe I will start by riding him in the arena pretty good, then take him out, then bring him back to lunge before putting him away.
The barn is hosting a trail ride/BBQ this Saturday and I think I will ride since Boomer is doing well! The ride plan is to go off the property on the back roads to another property where there is an old ski hill/lift. They call it Blue Mound and it is supposed to be a really good climb!