Tuesday, I intended to work with Link in the morning as its spring turkey season so I am trying not to ride until noon (when the hunters have to be done for now). However, Keith and Brad were in the fields with various equipment getting the ground ready for planting, so I decided to wait until later. Instead, I got on the tractor and brush hogged the field roads - its amazing how much the grass has been growing despite the cool temperatures.
I got Iggy ready and left the barn a bit before noon, knowing nobody was hunting on Alimar or Spaulding's. It was back to cooler weather and of course wind is constant, which at least helps dry things out. We went out across the fields and then up the Sugarloaf.
Iggy was pretty good in terms of his work ethic, chugging along as requested. He didn't bat an eye when we came around a corner and found some friends:
There were several more just off trail and they didn't run, just moseyed a few steps sideways and watched us go by. Sometimes I swear they are making faces at the horses.
We went down and did the out and back, which was dry enough to ride one of my fav pieces of trail:
We headed for home to collect Kestrel. Iggy got slightly fussy heading for home and then was less than enthusiastic leaving home, but never progressed beyond chomping on the bit. We went around Alimar and along part of the creek trail. Kestrel had a blast.
12.6 miles, 1640 feet of climb, 5.4 mph average pace, 53F real feel
After dinner, I mistakenly assumed Keith would be done for the day. I was just finishing tacking up Link when I could hear the tractor returning. At that point I figured I would just work him in the pen and see how things went.
I was pleasantly surprised that he didn't care about the tractor at all. It was the big one, so the engine is always loud and the potato planter makes lots of random clanks and bangs. It was also coming into sight and then disappearing behind hills, but Link didn't care.
Link did so well working in the pen I decided to hop on. He is still fussy about his face, but I suspect that is going to take a long time to subside. But we do get some nice moments at times:
0.95 miles, 10 feet of climb, 3.6 mph average pace, 55F real feel
Wednesday, I worked with Link first as rain was on the way. The temperature had dropped overnight and it was fairly breezy, so no surprise he was a bit antsy in the barn tacking up. I did a bit of extra canter work in the pen to help get him focused. He is now able to maintain the canter for a whole lap of the pen! I took him into the middle paddock, which was a bit more protected from the wind, and hopped on. It was so cold the battery in the camera died despite showing half a charge to start with.
We continued to work in the paddock calmly. He still fussed about his head at times, but overall he was calm to the point of lethargic.
We then walked down to the next paddock. That seemed to be going fine until he suddenly locked on to something in the far side of the yard.
I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, but he got increasingly upset, trying to spin away. I could feel his heart hammering against my leg, so he was sincerely frightened. I got Link to take a couple steps closer, him shaking head to toe. I praised him mightily, then got off before things really went sideways.
Even on the ground, Link was worked up like I have never seen him before. I spent the next 15 minutes doing groundwork and while he was trying really hard to behave, he was obviously upset and laser focused on one specific spot. If I asked him to move, it was all he could do to restrain from bolting away. If I asked him to stand, he stood with his eyes bugging out and his sides heaving. After 5 minutes with no change in his demeanor, I began to suspect one of the spirits that haunts the old house had come out to 'help.'
To test the theory I took Link away from the house.. which was also away from the herd. Once a certain distance away, Link calmed down completely. I went out of the paddock to do some work in the yard, and again as soon as he got within a certain distance of that specific spot, he was back on high alert. I didn't want to get him ramped up again, so we went back away from the house and came back to the barn from the opposite side. Link was fine with that and moseyed along calmly, then stood quietly in the barn to be untacked.
0.62 miles, 26 feet of climb, 2.6 mph average pace, 38F real feel
After a quick check of the radar showed me the rain wasn't far off, I decided to just hop on George bareback and take Kestrel for a walk around Alimar. We moseyed around the perimeter of the property. George snacked while the dog played and we made use of the places I had mowed.
We surprised this guy in a patch of woods and he took off across the field. That is the first coyote I have seen nearby in a couple years at least.
2.0 miles, 229 feet of climb, 3.0 mph average pace, 38F real feel