Yesterday I got more saddle time. Momma nature was mostly smiling, as at least the sun was out. Temps have returned to normal and there is still a wind, but at least nothing was falling from the sky.
I took George out first as I wanted to keep him in the fields as much as possible, so didn't want them getting too slimy as the sun warmed them. I used the thermal camera to take before and after pics again. We went over to do the Big Square (and I avoided going near the house with the dogs, just in case).
George was the same - mostly ok with some weird steps up front every so often. George was happy enough the whole time, even asking for a gallop along one part of the fields. The NQR seemed more noticeable downhill, but that was also the place with the worst footing.
On the way home, I decided to try the Beagle Trail for the first time in a long while.
The trail was a hot mess. There were a couple places I had to get off and hold branches up to let George walk under where the rhododendrons had grown across the trail. Then along the climb back to the road, there were 6 big
trees down. George was able to carefully pick his way around them, but a couple times we went so off track it was a good thing the trail was marked or I may not have known which direction to head! I won't go that way again until we get out there and do some major work.
7.69 miles, 899 feet of climb, 4.9 mph average pace, 37F real feel
The thermal images.. again, nothing that really jumps out:
Next up was Phin. I was expecting some silliness, so we straight to the Sugarloaf and climbed!
That took the edge off, but climbing the Tomhicken helped, too. We had several wildlife encounters that kept Phin looking for the next monster.
We went down the yellow gate trail and then up the gas line and back across the ridge.
On the way home, I had gotten off to jog the Tomhicken downhill (which is normal). On the shortcut trail between the logging road and the hay field, I paused to deal with a downed tree. Phin was fine for the first few branches I broke off, but when I bent over to grab the next, he suddenly shot backwards. I had my arm through the reins (which were attached to his halter) and he pulled me over the tree while yanking my arm to the side. I went down face first onto a big rock.
Luckily, Phin froze when I hit the ground or I likely would have lost the reins and then really been in trouble. As is was, I was lucky to have landed in a way that didn't break any teeth or a cheekbone, but I could feel my lip swelling and the thigh that landed on the tree was not very happy either (thankfully the encounter didn't tear my new tights). My right arm felt about a foot longer than the left, but was working just fine. As I climbed to my feet, Phin was still standing with his head straight up and his eyes bugged out, looking out into the field.
After a moment, I realized he was staring at Bruce's tractor, which was up in the orchard moving around - over a quarter mile away!!! I had some choice words for him as I got back on and we continued home. He was snorting and fussing the whole way, including up the climb.. to the point I was debating getting back off for fear he would try to spin and take off down the hill. Luckily, Bruce saw us and shut the brush hog down, so I was able to cajole Phin by. Once he went past, he was totally back to normal.
10.4 miles, 1713 feet of climb, 5.3 mph average pace, 42F real feel
Once I finished with Phin, I debated going inside to ice my face, but I couldn't resist the weather and decided to work with Link. Because the round pen was too slick to use safely, I decided to take him over to Gina's arena. It was his first time going there alone, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Gina came out to watch and was kind enough to handle the helmetcam.
While Link briefly forgot about steering while pointed towards home, he didn't do anything dumb. He also seems to have found forward, as at no point did I ask for trot under saddle but got some anyway. I was super pleased with how he handled the stressful situation, though of course the head flipping returned because of it.
Today I had hoped to get Phin out for a walk, but momma nature had other ideas and sent off and on rain (despite the forecast for partly sunny). I am feeling a bit crunchy after my encounter with that rock and have some impressive bruises on my leg from the tree. My lip and cheek are hard to miss, which made running errands interesting (though the ladies at the bank know I ride and luckily assumed it was horse-related and not from DH or a bar fight)!!