Is It Wishful Thinking?
I went out into the woods to collect something...ended up with cornstalk leaves...to make a witch's broom. While I was out there, I realized I was not being bothered by either flies or mosquitoes. Not a one! Don't know if it was the time of day, or that the bugs have finally died off.
I ran some errands, including getting some more low starch pellets for Tucker, came home, fed the Boys and then decided to try a hack.
I figured Chance would be the least likely to throw a fit about flies, so I brought him in first. However, on the way in, I thought there was a B52 buzzing around, so I ended up putting the bug armor on for our ride in the woods.
Chance was positively delighted to go out. He has, from the first, loved going out on the trail and today was no exception. There was a spring in his step, and I'd swear he was smiling. I took the middle route, so we were only out for about 20 minutes or so, but that was fine. Aside from a few gnats annoying me, I didn't notice a single deer fly or a mosquito. I'm hoping this is not wishful thinking. It was almost hot today, and quite humid as there is some kind of rain thing on the way, so it was "bug weather."
Then, I took a risk and saddled up Tucker with no fly protection at all. I did not ask him to go on the bit for the bulk of the ride. As I am still not sure what is bothering him in the hind end, my goal is mostly to do a lot of trotting to strengthen his stifles. Although he did lay his ears back on the first canter depart, after we got past the initial ugliness, he was fine. I do feel something just a little out of rhythm when he is on the left lead, again possibly the right stifle as that's the one that has to "twist" when he is going left. I did not try any circles smaller than 20m, but the turns through the diagonal were fine. I'll just take it one day at a time with this.
Then I put him into an dressage frame for some more serious trot work. He offered two nice shoulder-ins, one on either rein, so at that, I called it a day. Upping the "bug" stakes, I took him out for a mini-hack in the woods to cool off. This was just a minor loop of the little trail right behind the barn where I can ride kind of a "go out, come back." I was able to go the whole way on a loose rein with Tuck moving out in a nice forward walk, and a quite brave outlook. We both had a good time.
So, all is well. If it hadn't started to get dark, I might have taken Toby out too, but no worry. Once I am sure this was not a fluke, and the flies are really gone, he and I will take some nice rides together.
And I'll let him nibble on all the trees along the way. (Safe varieties only....)