Strong winds gusted up the hill this morning, so I thought the bugs wouldn't be too bad. Plus the temperature was still only in the 70's--downright cool compared to many days we've had this summer. I decided we needed to get a perfect score passing the goat house before I can ride Harley some place different. With the wind tossing the branches and tickling his tail, Harley was in fine form! Mr. Spookypants was ready to jump at critters in the woods, branches casting strange shadows on the road, a small puddle, you name it. And this was before we'd even reached the goats! As we approached, I felt him doing the sideways prance and heard a truck lumbering up the hill behind us. For once, a driver heeded my hand signals to please slow down and give us room. Once we pranced past the goats, the driver proceeded with caution and got a big "Thank you!' from me. Harley got some "Good brave boy" pats as well.
Since the wind didn't penetrate the woods, the deer flies found us immediately. Poor Harley took the brunt of their assault while I got just one welt on my arm. On days like this, I long for September. We had a few nice trots, but I didn't want him to get to speedy, clip his heels and rip off his shoes--like a particular dark bay mare back at the barn. St. Butch is coming tomorrow for trims and new shoes.
Harley was feeling sparky and moving along at a good pace, especially when I let him pick our turns and he headed for home. I couldn't fault him on that, given the insidious insect assault! And of course, as I'm ambling along on a loose rein, a deer gave Harley a good start--and me too. That made him wheel left, but we pulled up and pranced back in the direction of the deer, just for fun.
He walked right into the barn--I know, I know, shouldn't ride in the barn--as if asking me to get off and let him go see his friends. But first, Mr. Moon, you need a washing off and some carrots!
Last night, I was turning the horses out after dinner around 8:30. It was pretty dim, but I saw this grey lump move, right under Rolex's nose on the fence. A grey tree frog had emerged from his little cave in the fence post, the space where the board fits into the slot. He sat there while I turned out 3 horses, but by the time I put Vance out, he had found a new home with less vibration!
John ordered a special map for us made up from a number of USGS quadrangles. It's fun to be able to see all the surrounding terrain and plot our next ride! And underneath it, is a very comfortable wooden bench; a great spot for relaxing, post-ride. Down in the far right hand corner, is the Atlantic Ocean. That purple mark in the center is North Berwick (the Pratt-Whitney complex) As the crow flies, we are about one quarter of the distance between North Berwick and the ocean in a southeast direction--right on the west side of that brown set of contour lines delineating part of the Tatnic Hills. Yup, I'm kind of old-fashioned--no GPS in my dumb phone, just a map tacked on the wall and it's image imprinted in my mind. Although there have been times when I wished I'd had the paper map with me!