Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A July Cool Front = Time to Ride!

This week has been gloriously cool and breezing, giving us all a respite from the unrelenting heat & flies.  The horses seem so relaxed, and of course it has been lovely riding weather.  On Tuesday, Rhio and I headed out for our first solo conditioning ride in a very long time (almost 6 weeks!).  It was only in the upper 60s and mostly sunny with a light breeze, so I thought we'd be pretty safe from flies for the most part and off we went.
Heading out the driveway

The neighbor's are cutting hay, which is now in our indoor arena awaiting unloading.

Rhio argued, and then moped, about going out alone, but pretty soon was merrily trotting along with his ears pricked as usual.  We were trying out the attempt boot repair on the Renegades, and a few miles in to the ride he suddenly seemed "off."  His right front boot had turned on his hoof, so I hopped off to fix it.  At this point, I realized the adhesive I'd tried to repair the boots with was clearly not up to the job and the cracks were already bigger & badder than they'd been to start.  Quickly revising my route, we opted to do an out-and-back just on gravel roads rather than the "big loop."

After that one boot adjustment, and many, many glances down over his shoulders to check boot status, we had no additional difficulties and completed our 9 mile route easily.  The boots are definitely in worse shape after those miles, though, and I am debating whether to attempt another repair with some other kind of adhesive, or just give up on them.

Poor boot

It turns out I was partially correct in my assumptions about the fly situation.  Along the open road, the flies were minimal and neither one of us was bothered.  As soon as we hit a stretch of road with trees along the sides, however, it was a deer fly frenzy.  Poor Rhio did not have the fly mask on (my fault) and was being driven progressively more insane by the flies.  I was doing my best to slap the ones I could reach, but they have a nasty habit of landing somewhere where I can neither see nor reach them, and my only clue to their presence is Rhio's frantic head tossing.  Slowing even to a slow trot was miserable, the flies were swarming & biting us both, so I broke a bit of leafy branch off as we passed by a likely looking small tree and proceeded to "beat" my horse upside the head with it.  At first he thought I was offering him something to eat, and kept turning & trying to grab the leaves to munch on.  He quickly realized the utility of the branch, however, and seemed to welcome my waving it around & bonking his face with it.  The rest of our ride was much more peaceful, fly-wise, and I discarded that branch only when we got home to the barn.

Rhio's opinion of being gooped, daubed, and slathered with various ointments before being turned back out (SWAT for his bitten sheath, sunscreen for his sensitive pink nose, and desitin for his scratches-prone pasterns)

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