I did the barn work in short order. As the Boys are out as they choose, the stalls do not get too messy, so it was a relatively easy chore to clean them. Then I went out to the arena to do a more moderate bit of poo picking.
Most of the piles were easy to clean up and for the most part I have the west half of the arena clean, except for the still frozen side near the barn. Where the sun was shining on the surface, the footing was really quite nice. That gave me a good area for lungeing.
So, I saddled up Chance and lunged him for a short session, keeping in mind that he hasn't done any work for over a month. He was letter perfect and both reins with some lovely canter work, nice and relaxed on both reins. Once I was sure he was pretty settled, I tightened the girth and mounted up.
We headed out into the woods for a short trail ride. This is where the tree title comes in. About 100 feet out, well off to the right, a tree had fallen down. It was pale as all the bark was off and it had broken into several large pieces. Well, was it troll habitat? Monster hiding place? Whatever? To my surprise, Chance spooked.
Now, mind you a Chance spook is a sideways slither, a spin around to head back the way we came, and then a stand and look as if to say, "What the heck was that all about?" In short order we were back on our way without incident. Despite my having lunged him first, he did try to trot off a few times, but again, with Chance, no big deal. We rode the Tucker Trail without any more tree attacks. The footing was great and since it had warmed up quite a bit, it was a lovely ride.
When I got back it was still daylight so I put the halter on Tucker and took him into the arena for a lungeing session. On the right, all was well. He does put his nose on the ground and try to strike out at the lunge line--just for something extra to do, I guess--but he was obedient and forward. Then I switched to the left rein. The trot was fine, but when I asked for canter, it was an "event." He let out a few bucks and then took off in a gallop around me. He kicked up his heels a few more times and I just let him work off the steam until he finally settled down. I had to correct him for falling in on the circle and that took a bit of effort. I finally got a nice set of circles at the trot to finish up and called it a day.
We're not quite back to normal, but it was a good start. Aside from the fallen trees, all is well at Follywoods.