Howling winds and icy temperatures put me off, but I had to get on board Harley and ride. Experience and time in the saddle are what we both need. The windows rattled in the barn and the wind whistled around the corners. I thought it might be an interesting ride...and I'd forgotten the cell phone. But I told myself, "Go on, don't feel like you need the phone for safety. Use your head. If things get dicey, bail out."
Harley surprised me and behaved well. Oh, he had his usual semi-spooks at squirrels running through the woods and leaves blowing. But you never know what might be lurking around the corners and he's convinced the swamp demons are out to get him. We had a minor backing up, side-stepping issue. I just rode him away till he settled, then turn back and urged him forward. Assured no demons lay in wait, he splashed through the muck and snow until we hit the trial junction for Big Bump and Orris Falls. Now that he's been over Big Bump recently, he's decided that's the way to go (and it's the shortest route to home). After mucking about in the the mud and snow, circling, bashing into the woods, and much teeth grinding (Harley grinds his teeth when he's agitated), I decided to avoid working him into a dither and head back home (but not his way). He pranced and jigged a bit, then settled into a nice walk. The footing changed from ice to mud to dry duff rapidly, allowing for only short trots, but Harley kept his head, even though he really wanted to go faster. By trails end, he walked nicely on a loose rein, hopping over a downed log, and moving away at a calm trot.
The winds continue to blow today. I'm off to work this morning, but will ride tonight. Snow is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. Yup, it's spring in Maine!