So, Fitzroy and I have just recently moved to a new yard, and we're loving it. I'm a bit surprised at how well he's settled to be honest, but he seems very happy. Now, the hacking at our new yard is amazing - not only are there two small woods near the yard for short hacks, but you can take a public path up onto the moor, and from there into the forestry commission forests that span the local hills for miles and miles - can literally go 20 miles of hills and woods off road.
So, we were out two days ago, exploring the nearby woods. The yard owner told me that there had been loggers in the closest wood a few weeks ago, and whilst they were gone, it had been pretty muddy, so it was worth going to the other wood. We went up to that wood, and a great ride, and were heading back past the closer wood when I decided we should just nip in and have an explore - we could turn back if it was muddy.
Now, the reason it had been so muddy was because we'd had a month of solid rain, but we'd had a week of hot weather just before this, so the mud was dried up. Some of the track were a little squelchy, but nothing too bad, so we made our way through the wood. We finally got to the far end, near the yard, and the entrance to the wood. There had obviously been trucks coming in and out here, but it looked like it had all dried up - it was just a sand lot now. So we stepped out onto the lot, only for Fitz to sink to his belly in liquid mud.
Naturally, my poor boy panicked, and tried to run across the lot, sinking further an further in. I'm not going to lie, I was freaking out, but for whatever stupid reason in my panic I was worried about him, and hadn't really thought through that if he sank, I would too... until I lost both my stirrups and nearly went flying over his head in a deep patch.
Thankfully he found a solid tuft of ground and climbed up onto it, shaking like a leaf, but we were now stranded in the middle of a large amount of quicksand. Fitz was shaking, and stamping his feet, obviously shocked. When I checked my phone, we were out of signal range - typical. So I knew I was going to have to convince him to brave the sand again to get back out. I asked him to go across the patch that looked wettest, reasoning that if it looked wet, it probably wasn't deep enough to have formed the dry skin on top.
He was so good, and when I asked him to go back in, he did so, and went where I directed him instead of panicking. We made it back out onto the road, where he promptly fell down to both front knees, shaking. I got off, let him get up, and walked him home, giving him lots of praise.
Somehow, we came out with all four shoes, all four boots, and the only damage appears to be a shallow graze on his right hind fetlock, which I've washed out and creamed. He was stiff yesterday, but sound, and I'm about to go check him again today. I think we were lucky!!! Not about to go into that wood again in a hurry...
Anyway, just thought I'd share - it was really scary, and I was so proud of how he went back into that quicksand when I asked him to. What a gem.