Sunny Sunday Ride

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day. Warm, sunny, and Spring-like. It got up to something like +16C, which is more like May than March.

I got home from the morning chores at about 11 am and immediately tacked up Dressy and headed down the road. Misha and Diego came along too.

Dressy tried out her new Easyboot Gloves. They are quite tight, and it took a bit of muscle to get them on.  But once on and seated really well, they fit fine. And the boots should stretch a little bit from wearing too, so I expect they will get easier. She tends to grow more heel than toe, thus she has rather boxy front feet. I was a bit worried about that, since it’s not ideal for boots. But I’ve been working on her heels over the winter to try to sort them out a little, and it looks like the gaiters are a decent fit.

I led Dressy up the road past the tight curve around the ravine. There is no shoulder in that section, so I find it rather unnerving on a horse. But after the curve we turned right onto the quiet sideroad and got back on the horses. There was still traffic, but not nearly so much. Quite a few bicycles though. And they are dead silent until they swish past. Especially the really serious cyclists who don’t chat to each other and are moving at high speed. It’s enough to spook a rider right off a horse, never mind the horse. We crossed the overpass over the Highway 404. It was the first time for both horses. Both have been over the 115 overpass. Though I must say this one is narrower and the highway is busier.  Dressy was a little leery of stepping on the expansion joints, but otherwise didn’t turn a hair.

A car passed us with a mother driving and gesticulating wildly at the horses while her toddler son looked on impassively. She pulled into a driveway ahead of us and ran into the house, apparently to grab a bag of carrots from her fridge. She and her son, and her neighbours were all waiting for us when we rode up. Dressy marched directly up to them of course. Happy to do her duty as a goodwill ambassador for the equine community. She regally accepted carrots while the little boy agreed to touch her with one finger. His mother insisting that he LOVED horses. Maybe. He just looked intimidated to me. I think his mother loves horses actually. Diego, who is afraid of strangers, but likes carrots, was a bit torn. He snuck up close enough to take one carrot, then waffled and took so long advancing for another that his benefactors lost interest and fed them to Dressy, who knows how to work a crowd.

We made it all the way to the closest tract of the Vivian Forest. The Robinson Tract. But it was pretty clear that we were not going to be riding in there. The entrance was a sheet of ice. I managed to sneak Dressy around the edge of it to the trail and had a bit of a look. But there was ice visible for a good distance so there was no possibility of exploring. At least I know where it is though, and how to get to it now.

Diego was a bit rude coming home. Quite intent on being in front, and in a hurry. So he was rather crowhoppy. It was mild, but still not acceptable. And he tried to kick Dressy when she came up beside him.  Tried to bite her when she was in front too. Whereupon she took a shot at him. So she had to have some anti-boss mare instructions again.

Total distance was about 9 miles. We were out for just under two hours. I kept Dressy’s rump rug on, in the hopes that this will contribute to her heat training. It’s definitely contributing to her shedding anyway… big clumps of black hair came out in the currycomb afterwards. She’s going to be very sleek, very early this year from the looks of her.

I went back to work for the afternoon once we were done. By the time I got home last night, and fed my own horses, my back was kind of seized again. It’s just a bit stiff this morning, but not desperate. So I think it’s still on the mend.

 

Whew

I’m finally getting an afternoon to myself. I’ve been working 9+ hours a day now for weeks. I love my job. Really I do. But this past week I’ve been a bit less enchanted with it. My back went out on the weekend, and I’ve been limping along like a broken-down racetracker most of the week. It seems to be on the mend now though.

The racehorses still haven’t shipped down to Woodbine for the season. The boss has been working them in the arena at home instead. Just legging them up a bit. Which meant that I had to be there to help all afternoon. But he is finally making noises about arranging a shipper, so we are moving incrementally closer to that glorious day.  It must be admitted that I love my job a whole lot better in the summer, when I’m free to do everything my way, on my own schedule, and don’t have the boss interfering 🙂

I suppose though, that I should not complain too much. This overload of work has coincided with really godawful footing. The trails have either been muck or ice. So even if I’d had a spare half hour to ride, it wouldn’t have been possible. Even my round pen has been hopeless. It has occurred to me that a few truckloads of sand in the round pen might be worth thinking about. The soil here is clay, so it’s slow to drain and either greasy or deeply mucky. Even up on top of the ridge here. Some sand would give me a place to at least do some basic schooling when it’s really wet.

Dressy’s new Easyboot Gloves arrived yesterday (we used Epics in previous years). I hope that I get a chance this weekend to try her out with them. Maybe Sunday if the weather cooperates. Tomorrow afternoon I have to trailer Misha’s horse, Diego, up to a saddle fitting session to adjust his ReactorPanel saddle. But it looks like Sunday will be a nice day to ride anyway. It’s supposed to warm up dramatically to around +14C. Heat training for Dressy!

 

Big Babies

The boss had me put the measuring stick on the babies the other day. They seem to be growing like weeds lately. Albert in particular is looking very tall and impressive. But in fact, when we put the stick on them, Reno is exactly the same height as Albert. They are both 15hh right on the mark. They are only 11 months old, so it looks like they will both be big horses. Reno is sturdier, and Al is leggier. Reno is now officially taller than his foster uncle, Twister.

Esmerelda looks small next to the boys, but she is around 14.2hh. I can’t be so accurate with her, because she thought the stick was there to EAT HER!!!! So it’s an approximation from a foot or two away… at speed. If she were around any other normal babies, she’d be a fine big handsome filly. But she’s dwarfed by those two boys. Not that it bothers her one bit… she can pound both boys into the ground anytime she feels like it. Just like her mama (Exclusive, the boss mare).

We checked Jasper and he’s maybe half an inch over 17hh. He’s Reno’s older brother. I don’t think Reno will get quite that big. But then we had no idea Jasper would get so big either. Jasper’s sire, Monarchos, is 16.1hh. Monarchos’ sire, Maria’s Mon was 16.1hh. And that’s about what his mama Freckles was too. Of course, Native Dancer, was 16.3hh, so there’s some height going back a few generations. And it looks like Jasper has at least three lines going back to Native Dancer in both his dam and sire lines.