Monday, momma nature was a bit bipolar, as it started out drizzly and then suddenly after lunch it was sunny, humid, and WARM. I hopped on George bareback and went over to Spaulding's to check out where DH had mowed. Luckily, George was feeling pretty mellow and ignored the chaos on the tree farm.
I was able to figure out a path through the fields. It's not nearly as nice as being able to go around the outside, but sure better than nothing. I would hate to lose that way totally because it keeps me off the pavement as much as possible.
2.56 miles, 276 feet of climb, 3.3 mph average pace, 70F real feel
After dinner, I went out and tried Link in a loose ring, medium thickness french link with a sweet iron mouth and a copper lozenge. He was not impressed:
Tuesday, I got George out for a real ride. Temperatures had dropped overnight and the wind was brutal. George was a complete fool, spooking at nothing and acting like he'd never been on trail before. Things we have passed probably hundreds of times were suddenly monsters.
And he still travels wrong on the front, though today it was hard to tell just how many steps were NQR as I don't think he went in a straight line for more than two strides at a time.
George was so bad that I took him out for his cool down walk with the saddle still on, as I was afraid he would spook right out from under me bareback.
10.1 miles, 1291 feet of climb, 5.9 mph average pace, 58F real feel
After discussing his behavior with DH, we decided it was time for some additional testing - this time for PPID and EPM. He's been very late to shed this year and does have some muscle wasting along his topline, so I figured ruling out PPID/IR was worth it. George was treated for EPM a couple years ago and didn't present in a traditional way with it then, so it seemed like a good thing to rule out now, esp with the spooking to go along with the weirdness up front. I contacted the vet and she stopped to draw blood on her way home.
When I went to work with Link, I started out with the low port solid mouth kimberwick with the curb chain removed and the reins attached as a normal snaffle. Link was chomping and fussing over it even in the stall to groom and tack up, so wasn't a surprise that he hated it ground driving:
I didn't see the need to torture him, so we went back into the barn after about 5 minutes and I swapped the bit out for a D ring single jointed snaffle with a fairly thin, curved mouthpiece. That one wasn't an instant no, though he wasn't exactly thrilled with it. I still find it fascinating that he drops his head when he is trying to process something new that he is unsure of - a self-soothing behavior maybe?
Wednesday morning, I went out to work Link first thing. This time I tried a D ring waterford. I have to say I expected an instant no, but Link didn't initially hate it.
However, Link had a really hard time steering using that bit, and as we continued around, he started getting more and more head flippy over it. Another fail.
Then, I went over to ride with Nicole. I rode Polo. I took the treeless saddle for her to try on Hombre and we were thrilled when he was back to his old self!
The wind was RAGING and the horses were high as kites. I actually thought Polo was going to bolt with me at one point, so instead of doing the big loop we cut the last couple fields out to get into the shelter of the trees.
10.8 miles, 759 feet of climb, 5.3 mph average pace, 56F real feel