Back-to-back rides with Hamlet (yesterday) and Key (today). With Hamlet, I kept to the (dirt) road for the warm-up walk portion, then turned into a long driveway to a farm which leads through the conservation area, ultimately turning into the woods trails to return home. Hamlet can outrun the flies, no sweat. They were swarming, but not too many were landing - I kept an eye on his neck to eliminate the bravest ones. I think he had a better time than me: There wasn't a lot of head shaking because of the fly spray and my intervention, and he got to pick the speed almost all the way home. The constant whirring and buzzing, around his head and mine, drove me nuts, and it was hard to keep my cool for the horse.
My first solo w/t/c ride on the trail with Key today. His feet are getting stronger, so a smooth dirt road, somewhat soaked my rains, posed no hardship. He's not conditioned enough to make a run for home in the woods, so it was a U-turn for him, back along the road that was exposed to a breeze, and thus almost bug free (by comparison). He was a doll - no spook, no fuss, no arguments. It's been a while since I hand-walked him down the trail and had to convince him to cross a dried, white-colored stream bed, and today he acted like he's been riding out solo all his life. He's just getting a little out of breath still on the uphills, and I need to see how he'll do with uneven, debris-strewn forest trails. I am so ready for cooler weather! Maybe he'll get more frisky, too, then!!
Fate had me suddenly switch from riding two mares to riding two geldings...still having a blast, still getting schooled by TBs how varied in personality, but overall awesome, they are.