The weekend brought with it some beautiful weather. I was able to open all the windows to the barn all weekend and feel a warm breeze through the barn. The horses loved being able to look out their windows. Unfortunately I couldn’t turn them out since everything was melting, making for water on ice on mud. But it was still beautiful, and I tended to linger around the barn and find more things to do instead of going home.
Saturday I rode Bentley with Laura and Alvin, and met someone new from Diamond Ridge named Ashley on Monty. Monty is also a Trakehner cross (with TB) so we made jokes when both of them would spook at something that Alvin couldnt care less for – like cows for instance. Before we met up however, I first had to get to Diamond Ridge. With the very deep snow and the warm temperature, it turned into a crusty heavy deep mess. It hadnt melted much for depth, and sometimes we had false bottoms on each step. It was difficult to judge the depth in some areas and Bentley would look around every so often and give me one of those looks to say “are you kidding me?” There is one semi-steep downhill to get through DR and thats when I got one of those looks. A stop… kick kick kick…5 strides. Stop… kick kick kick…4 strides. And so on until we got around the bend where we meet the creek. We dont go through the creek, there is a bridge, but Bentley seems to hate the fact he can hear the creek but not see it beneath the snow. Kick kick kick kick. Nothing. Then a horse eating rabbit ran through the trees to our right and we spun around a little, but didnt progress forward any further. I got off and led him, and he was more than happy to amble through the snow as I struggled in the various depths. His message was clear “Get off your lazy butt, im not carrying you through this” What a character.
We made it the rest of the way on foot, I probably could have mounted after the creek but chose to wait for a mounting block. At the newer barn, there were several women who had just arrived with their doggies. Bentley didnt seem to like the dogs too much – he never does with the exception of Heather’s dog Riley. But the women were over the moon to see Bentley and gave him lots of praise and told him how beautiful he was and he cooled down enough eventually to allow them to fuss over him.
We waited for Ashley and just as she mounted up, Laura was pulling in the drive, perfect timing! We had a relatively uneventful walk around the roads this time going south instead of up to the closed concession (since the struggle through the sludge had tipped me off that it wouldnt be a fun crossing!) We all enjoyed the sun on our backs and the good company.
Bentley did seem to be getting crabby towards the end of our ride however which was not like him. Not sure what caused it, but he decided his friends werent allowed to be on his left side. He made several faces at Monty, and then later at Alvin. He even lunged at Alvin enough that my loose curb rein swung up over his head and looped around his ears. I cant remember if anyone had been on the left in the earlier part of the ride, so I am not sure if its an idiosyncrasy or if maybe he was just crabby because dinnertime was nearing. Perhaps he remembers our only race, where the passing horses always take the left side, and he HATED being passed. Competitive much? Something I will be watching out for more as we do trail.
He didnt seem to mind on the way home that his friends were dropping in numbers (as they departed to their various homes), just trucked along with no looking back. This time no stopping to make Lazy Sarah walk. There seemed to be a lot more uphills (or steep ones as opposed to long ones) so several times I just grabbed the mane and let him hop/gallop up as it was much easier for him in that depth of snow. I was nervous the first time because I was worried he would get riled up and want to canter back DOWN the hill then all the way home, but he was very respectful and the moment I sat back and touched the reins, he obeyed and walked at the crest and downhill parts. It was brief, but for that trip home, it felt like we were working as an equal partnership and communicating impeccably to get through a tough situation. I was very proud!
We came back to the barn and was bombarded by the kids “Bentley is back! Yay! How was your ride???” they all cheered. I put him in his stall and untacked him there. Put my stuff away and by the time I came back to put his jammies on, there were 6 kids standing outside his stall giggling. Dreading what my silly horse might be doing, I peered into his stall… he was just eating his dinner! All the kids then explained themselves that they love to hang outside Bentleys stall because he is the cutest and sweetest horse in the barn. Awwww, isnt that the nicest thing you have ever heard? Bentley has his own fan club! I gave them some of his cookies and they lined up patiently outside his stall so they could give him a treat one at a time. Very cute!
Saturday ended with me finishing the horse feed quickly as I wrenched something in my back throwing hay. So I opted to leave the work horsey exercise for Sunday. I took Lee out for dinner as a thank you for how wonderful he has been recently and had an early night.
Sunday I spent the entire day at Halton Place getting things ready for the temporary weekday girl. Things like filling the grain bins, playing shavings jenga, rolling all the laundry and whatnot. Again it was beautiful, so I didnt mind hanging out at the barn all day. I lunged 3 of the horses since they hadnt had any turnout or exercise all week, and they all had a different reaction. One was slow and very out of shape, another galloped for 15 minutes with a grinchy look on her face until she eventually softened (just needed to run off some stress!) and one who is usually an idiot, was very well behaved! The last of the riding horses I opted to take for a handwalk outside and enjoy the day. She always behaves well for me, so she was the only one I trusted walking outside after the week they had. Linda had arrived at the barn at that point so we walked together (And it was Sable’s birthday!). My giant puppy was thrilled to be outside and I could barely keep up with her, she loved going through the snow so I tried to encourage it (slowed her down a bit too!) Once we got to the HGEC horses, she got very excited and the tail shot straight over her back, we walked back with her trotting circles around me as I walked. Shes a good girl though, doesnt try to run away with me and we giggled at her excitement.
Overall, the weekend was a blast and I took great advantage of the weather, hopefully the temperatures continue and I will soon be back on the trails every day!