Back in the Saddle Again
Things have thawed out enough that the trails are again passable. They are not perfect due to quite a bit of mud, but they are rideable.
Yesterday, Chris, Larry, and I went out on the three Arabians. Since the plan is to ride a competition at the end of the month, the horses need the work and I certainly do as well.
We were out for close to two hours, mostly at the walk with just a little trotting here and there when the ground afforded it. JJ was a little more energetic than he's been in the past when I've ridden him and we actually had two spooks. Nothing too dramatic, but just enough to remind me he's alive and well. *G*
The funny part was that when we arrived at the barn and brought the boys in from the paddock, JJ and Nordisk had rolled to a fare thee well in the mud. They were both coated eartip to tail. Juan, on the other hand, the white boy was almost pristine. It took Larry about 5 minutes to brush him off so he could tack up. Meanwhile, Chris and I were currying and brushing away. I left a pretty good pile of dirt in the barn aisle by the time I was done and I can't say JJ looked more than moderately clean when I was done. Nothing like trying to clean up a winter haired horse after a nice roll in the spring mud.
My Boys, at home, were wearing sheets, so when I went out to ride today, I had minimal brushing to do.
But that benefit was short lived success when it came to completing rides on everyone.
Tucker was up first. The arena was more than half thawed with one side dry with good footing and the other wet with a bit of snow left. I trotted around a little, just to see how Tucker was feeling since I hadn't ridden him since....December???? He wasn't very interested in arena work and made it clear he wanted some adventure. So, putting my courage to the sticking place, we ventured into the woods.
So this is one of the non-completion trail rides in the title. The footing in the woods was a little dicey, with some slippy spots and snow. I am going to let Tucker use that as an excuse. For the first half of the ride he was OK, but was doing a little dancing in the footing. Then, he threw a bit of a hissy fit. He lifted his front end a bit off the ground and struck with his forelegs, squealing at the same time. It really did feel as if he was frustrated, and after that wanted to jig and not settle back down.
I'll admit, it. I'm a coward. I got him to stand and dismounted. I led him along the trail for the second half of the outing. We may well have been able to settle down again, but at that point the trail was really tricky with all kinds of switchback "go arounds" of all the fallen trees, and if he had acted up it would have been dangerous. I would like to be braver, but I'm not, so I copped out. At least I got some exercise leading him along and he got to be out and about.
Then I saddled Chance. The ground has been so bad for so long, I've not been able to check on his soundness. Failed trail ride #2. He was very lame. I'm confused about it. He felt really bad, but it's hard to tell for sure if it's the hind end. I will be calling the vet out for spring shots this week, and if I can be sure the footing in the arena will be OK, I will have a soundness exam. At this point, I just don't know what's wrong. He's had two months off, but horrible footing the whole time, so that just might have made things worse, or not. We'll just have to wait and see.
Fortunately, at 24, Toby is sound as can be and, once bribed with a carrot, quite eager to go out on a ride. The trouble was that as I led him into the arena, Tucker barged through the gate and made it nearly impossible for me to get out the woods gate and lock it behind us. I finally had to dismount, chase Tucker off with a tree branch, remount and finally go out.
We had a lovely ride. Toby was forward and happy the whole time. The woods footing didn't seem to bother him at all and we took the middle trail to make the ride just a little longer.
Thank heavens for my old fellow. He ended the afternoon at Follywoods on a high note.