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Took Journey out for another solo ride very early this morning to try to beat the heat. It turned into a little adventure. First was mounting. Remember she had an issue with that? ☺ She stood completely still this morning and arched her neck around for a treat! Good girl.
I love how Journey just bobs along with none of the stickiness that I still encounter with Phebes even after all those miles. She just tips her ears forward, and she goes. The first excitement this morning was when we left the black top road to the trail head by neighbor's house. I saw something just maybe six or eight feet ahead in the long grass, squint my eyes and stop Journey as I don't want her to suddenly see something moving and spin back. We take another step, oh crap! SKUNK!!! I don't want her to see it, because if she startles guess who's going to be staring down the wrong end of a skunk? I very much detest the smell of skunk, so I turn her away as fast as I can in a "calm" way, and we give that skunk some room. Skunks are nocturnal animals, very strange that it was out in the daylight. They also carry rabies, so the daylight encounter gave me pause. We just barely escaped being sprayed. The skunk had turned around and was lifting its tail, a very close call! ( for later reference take note here that we walked right by a big round bale of hay behind my neighbor's hay baler). Then we were off down the trail, wading the big creek, and trotting intermittently in the quiet morning.
No cars out and about when we made our road crossings. The deer flies are ravenous and an hour in swarming at Journey's head and face. I was shooting for ten miles, but took pity on her at six because the flies (yes I sprayed her) were just driving her nuts.
She picks up a canter pretty easily, and I always want to giggle, because her way of going is so different. Fun though! I call her my VW Rabbit (Phebes was a MUSTANG with a souped up engine). Her trot today was up to 8.8 mph which is about her top trotting speed before she shifts into a canter at 13.3 mph. I've got to put a heart rate monitor on her and see which is more efficient for her. She sure doesn't seem to get tired cantering, in fact is very enthusiastic about uphill canters. I'm hoping it doesn't pop up her heart rate so we can alternate gaits which will help our average speed as distances go longer. Since I'm not going to race I really don't care, just want to know what she has, and how to use it to get the job done.
Hoof-wise, she's coming along. Still sensitive over gravel, but thankfully we don't have a lot to go over presently. She is good on packed dirt trail and grass. But sensitivity has improved over the past few weeks. I noticed today that though she hit an ouchy place now and then, it wasn't like she was going to fall on her head from the rock when we first started. A couple more trim cycles will help, and boots that fit...come on Easycare, release the W's will ya? Granny has to have some 0.5 W boots! Five of them please.
The ride back home today was uneventful until we approached the hay bale. This was near the area of the turkey last weekend. She had in fact passed the hay bale going to the trail head, but had missed it as she was focused forward and it was kind of behind the hay baler. Coming back, SSSSCREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM! What is THAT THING! I settled her down and tried to just get her to stand still and look at it. We had a huge explosion. Horse scrambling backwards, almost sat down and tipped over, got that thwarted, turned her back around and stepped off. Sometimes you just are better off with your two feet on the ground. I led her up to the horse eating round bale a little at a time, her little eyes bugging out. Then she sniffed it. Scratched her head on it, and the whole thing turned into a non-event. Honestly? I think she is seriously near sighted. Hand walked her back to where the explosion happened, remounted, and rode past it without issue, and on home. Ever so slowly...we are getting there. ~ E.G.