One positive is that the grass is definitely dormant and we are letting Winston go out on pasture with the boys. He still wears a muzzle and probably always will for our peace of mind. We also put hay out and he actually eats that first. Works for me. Pony gets to play, we use less hay and he stays healthy.
|Winston figuring out he can eat grass|
|DaVinci and Roscoe running to greet me|
Sunday once it was apparent no riding would be happening at my barn, I went to Peggy's. Comrade has not worked in like two weeks, so he was due. I walked out into her field to bring him in and found a surprise. He and Sonny were eating a small pine tree that had fallen over. Now I have seen horses chew on pine wood, but they were literally eating the pine needles and baby pine cones. Comrade started swinging a branch to get the needles off. Then as I was taking pictures I started getting frisked from behind. Sonny had snuck up on me and was checking to see if I had sugar cubes.
Eventually I had to take him away from his snack and get my ride in before dark. As we walked back to the barn I caught an smell. I laughed as I realized the strong pine smell was coming from Comrade's breath. It was so strong.
|Dirty boy eating pine needles|
|Sonny sneaking up on me|
When I finally chipped him out of the mud, we went to work. After days of cautious walking on slippery ground, he needed to cruise. I let him move as he wanted to warm up. He even offered right lead canter. Yay Pony!
Then I reined him in and made him work. He had so much energy in his canter I played with flying changes. Right to left was really smooth and maintained the forward energy. Left to right, well not so good. He changed in the front, but not in the back. That is the freakiest feeling. Then we moved onto voltes to get him stepping under. Out of the voltes I asked him to open and stretch. He gave some really nice stretch.Of course he would occasionally pull a "Woo Hoo" move before remembering he was suppose to be working. I think he was powered by pine. He never lost the energy.
I decided to test that energy with a new challenge. I started working shoulder in a familiar exercise for Comrade. Once he was listening and responding well I moved my outside leg back asking for half pass. Previously, he shutdown at this point. He said 3 tracks straight, okay, but 3 tracks sideways, no way. Sunday, I got a different answer. We half passed :) It was not long, but it felt amazing.
I ended the ride on that great note. I am so happy at the direction his training is moving. He is healthier in body which has helped him to be happier in his mind.