It’s pretty hot. I actually saw a new (to me) heat indicator this weekend, although I was later told it’s not really unusual. My horses, just standing in the pasture grazing, were not just sweating profusely; they actually had salt caked on their coats from evaporated sweat. I think that’s pretty bleepin hot! But since there’s no promise of cooler weather any time soon, and I don’t want to let Crossbo’s education lapse until September, I dragged my lazy ass out of bed early Saturday morning while weather conditions were a little more pleasant.
And it was worth it. Crossbo and I had a good time. I considered titling this post “Show Pansy gets guts”. The farm was a little drier than it was two weeks ago, but there were still plenty of opportunities for Crossbo to be a wuss. And there were some moments of initial hesitation, but he eventually did everything I asked.
And we had quite a tour. On earlier rides, we actually didn’t cover much territory because we spent lots of time on single obstacles. Saturday, we forged through each one and on to the next. Normally on my rides at home, I reach a point where I get tired of opening gates and decide it’s time to turn around and head for home. Depending on where the cattle are and which gates are open/shut, the turnaround point is usually near a pond close to the back of the farm.
Today, the cattle were fairly close to the front, so after the first couple of gates, everything had been left wide open to facilitate hauling hay out of the back of the farm. When I got to the pond, the gates at both ends of the dam were open, which I’d never seen before. So we went on across and ventured into territory that I don’t think I’ve ever taken Arthur into in the seven years that I’ve had him. We even got lost at one point.
We did have one occasion where Crossbo and I mutually agreed that discretion was the better part of valor. An area near a dry stream bed was too rough to get through with a batwing, so it was overgrown with all kinds of tall stuff, obscuring the view of the ground. The few glimpses I could get of the ground were unfriendly at best: ditches, ruts, rocks, etc. We made a few attempts at it. Each time, Crossbo gamely headed into it, only to stop with that “Are you sure?” expression as the footing turned unpredictable. Since I hadn’t been through there recently, I really had no idea what kind of pitfalls might be hiding. I couldn’t in good faith say “Trust me”, so my response was “You’re right, it sucks, let’s try over there instead”. Each time, he was willing to try again until it seemed just as bad as before. Since he had already been so good about trusting me when I pushed him past his hesitation earlier, I really didn’t want to betray his trust by pushing him into something that really might be a problem. So we agreed that a detour would be acceptable in this case.
But overall, I was pleased with his attitude. When we did have moments of uncertainty, he seemed like he really wanted to go forward, but just wasn’t sure he should. Rather than stopping and backing away, he was gingerly putting a foot forward.
On a related note, I think I’m pleased with the way the herd dynamics are working out. After some initial concern that Arthur might really inflict some serious injury, they seem to have settled into a peaceful co-existence. I still see an occasional bite mark on Crossbo indicating that Arthur still feels it necessary to assert his alphaness at times, but he’s no longer aggressive to the point where I worry about Crossbo getting chased through a fence. In fact, I’m happy that Crossbo has company (which I think is important for horses) without getting bonded to the point that causes problems when separated, which cost me an ACL 16 years ago.