All the icy snow has hemmed in the horses, leaving them with a few areas and paths tromped out where they can hang out without plunge-stepping through the crust. So of course, they have all sorts of pent-up energy; they are ex-racehorses after all, and they just want to run and kick up their heels.
So I tried taking Harley up Boyd's Corner Road (much as I hate road riding--the snowbanks are still too high) on Sunday, figuring I could re-trace the short ride John and I did on Friday. We got as far as the barking dogs. I dismounted, deciding to save us both from any trouble. Once I reached Tatnic Road, I found a nice solid snowbank to stand on and remounted. The roads all sound hollow this time of year. With each hoof beat, an echo reverberates under foot where the pavement has heaved from the frost. Harley was good the rest of the ride until we turned back and had to pass the dogs again. He just reacts, doesn't think, a dangerous combination with drivers that are clueless. So once again, I dismounted until we were back on Thurrell Rd. We pranced down the road until Hank and Lili pulled up in their car for a quick chat. Before Harley knocked the mirror off the car, dancing around, I dismounted once again. This was a ride for perfecting the flying dismount!
Monday's ride was a repeat, only in the other direction, down to Orris Falls. Things were going fine until we happened upon two people with 2 large barking dogs. That was it--Harley tried to turn for home and no amount of turning him back would change things. He just gets grumpy and upset. Yes, time for another dismount! I walked him past the dogs and finally found a remount spot. And this is what slays me--how well he stands while I get back on. But once I was in the saddle he was off--prancing and jogging. He just leaned down on that bridle and pulled, hell-bent for home. I thought, o.k., I'll let him trot rather than trying to make him walk. The trot evolved into a very stiff, sideways canter with a lot of head shaking and the potential for a Nantucket sleigh ride. I bridged my reins and held his pace. I'm very glad there's a big farm gate at the end of the trail!
Back at the barn, I kicked the Jolly Ball around for the gang. Rolex thinks it's fun, Ruffy thinks it's interesting, and Harley, well who knows what he's thinking! They have all approached and sniffed it, even licked snow off it, but Rolex is the only one to actually pick it up. Here's the South Berwick Soccer League, waiting for me to give it another kick!
Rolex, enjoying the bright sunshine at 5 o'clock at night!
And here's Ruffy coming up to me, looking for a treat.
And 'ole Buster, back from his hair-raising ride, safe with his girls.
Another storm to weather--spring IS coming!