Paco (L) and April Aziz.
I love the fact that both horses are clearly paying attention to something behind them to their left, as evidenced by their symmetrical ear positions.
We all have severe cases of Spring Fever, and a day like today only fed the fever! It was sunny and in the mid-thirties, and we've had enough sunny warmish days that the snow banks are visually diminishing and the roads are mostly clear (in the sunny spots, anyway.) So, Gesa and I made plans to ride her two Arabians, April Aziz and Paco. Gesa and April finished a 12 mile novice endurance ride last year (3rd place!) and she hopes to start Paco this year.
We rode the edge of the paved roads from Gesa's house over to where we could pick up a clear gravel road, then did a couple miles on the gravel road before turning for home. There were frequent icy patches to negotiate, and in some areas we really couldn't get off the road because the shoulder was solid ice. The horses were extremely good, paying attention to their footing and NOT paying attention to things they shouldn't - like garbage cans, puddles, and traffic.
The vehicular traffic was a real problem today, however, and left us with a decidedly sour taste in our mouths. Both Gesa and I ride roads frequently since neither of us own trailers, and our horses are very traffic safe. Most of the drivers are very considerate and slow down and go wide around us. Occasionally I have trouble with drivers who slow down TOO much, which for some reason makes my horses very nervous.
Today we ran into multiple inconsiderate drivers, including two that were downright dangerous. These drivers would have been dangerous in any conditions, but with the ice today, it was especially nerve wracking. The first bad driver came up behind us on the gravel road, racing past us on a very icy patch and purposefully gunning his engine & spinning his tires on the ice. The second bad driver came flying past us head-on along the paved road, despite us gesturing him to slow down (it seemed that he sped up, actually!) and then started honking rapidly just as he drew abreast of us. April & Paco behaved impeccably, without even a flinch, but I was pissed. Gesa, who is German, said that those drivers would be ticketed in Germany for unsafe driving, as well as several other drivers who passed us while oncoming traffic was present. It was interesting to hear that. I don't know what could have happened if a patrol car had happened to be there for either of these incidents, but somehow I doubt it would have been anything other than a warning, if even that.
So, though the horses & the weather were both great, this wasn't the best of rides. I can't wait to have better footing & trails open to ride!
Gesa with Paco (L) & April Aziz
(I rode April today.)