Watching Kristi & Cody down by the water & wondering why we had to climb the hill 4x today but they only did it 3x!
I'm not sure Kristi really knew what she was getting into when we scheduled a ride for today! I still don't have boots (waiting impatiently!), so we are stuck with the local trails & gravel pit. I can get a decent (7 1/2 mile) ride out of it if we go around a few times. We walked the little bit of gravel road down to the shoulder of the paved road, then set off at a nice, smart 8 mph trot. We turned in at the old gravel pit just north of the county gravel pit, and wound our way around the 4-wheeler trail between the ponds and up across the ridge, then popped out into the county pit to continue down to our little mound / training hill. There was only 1 bald eagle in residence today, and he left in a bit of a hurry when we showed up. We went up & down our little training hill a few times, then headed off into the woods south of the pit along someone's deer hunting trails. This is a good spot to canter, so away we went! Kristi & Cody had no trouble staying right on our tail, and Rhio thought that meant we needed to go faster, so we argued a little bit about that. The trail ends at a dead end with a very tall deer stand just back in the woods, so we turn around and head back the way we came. We have to slow down for two sections - one that is a bit muddy and one that is full of holes - but otherwise I typically move out pretty well on these trails. Cody was breathing pretty hard when we got back to the gravel pit access road, so he & Kristi worked on some active recovery while Rhio & I did the hill one more time.
Kristi & Cody surveying the landscape
We headed back into the trails for round two, then headed across the road to Dave & Carol's place, setting the horses there on fire and having a nice chat with Dave & Jack (the Border Collie) while Rhio & Cody munched on their greening lawn. We headed out back to the trails that connect to our barn's trails, passing between the pasture containing the bulls/steers (2400# "Big Rig" who loves to have his head scratched stands out from all the rest) and the one containing the cows & new calves (so cute!). We had a lot of fuzzy black faces staring at us as we passed! Once onto the trails, we did a little looping up & down the hills and then headed home. Once we got close to our home field, we could hear shooting (or something that sounded an awful lot like shooting) but didn't see or identify the source. There weren't any bullets whizzing past, so I guess we were ok. Cody was full of energy still on the homeward trip, although once returned to his pasture, he took a big snooze standing in the sun.
Kristi & Cody back in the woods - dressage horse, you say? Not if you're riding with me!
I was happy to note that Rhio's sweat pattern was perfectly symmetrical and complete - no dry spots by the withers. This was the second ride where I used thicker foam inserts in his Skito pad (3/4" instead of 1/2") and I think it's working. Also, his foot is holding up great, although it's starting to look pretty ugly.
Ok, kinda gross because the sweat brings all the dirt & grunge in his coat to the surface - but the point is that this is a beautiful sweat pattern!
It's quite the crack/defect that's developing as Rhio's hoof grows out. It looks wet because I just cleaned it & applied a sealant (in an attempt to make sure nothing gets down in under his healthy hoof horn & sets up an infection/abscess.)
Look Mom! Green grass!