Yesterday was the longest day of the year and I really missed Scotland. Sunrise here 5:30/sunset 8:20. Sunrise in Edinburgh 4:30/sunset 10pm. Just not fair! It's hotter here and I need that early/late daylight to play with horses in the cool! Still, I suppose if we had those extra hours of sunlight it might be even hotter here, so I guess maybe it's okay! According to the forecast earlier in the week, we were going to get out first day of 100F (38C), however we didn't. I don't mind waiting!
Don't know where the time went! It's been ages since I've written anything here. Let's see, what's been happening -
Coco and Albus headed home last week, but Linda decided to leave Dakota and Ducky here for awhile. They look pretty contented out there, so I think they would say it was a good decision. I am looking forward to having more opportunity to ride with Linda. We have had a couple of good sessions, recently working on things together. Linda has been working on her fluidity and I help where I can. One evening recently she rode Iona while I played with her. Iona was a real star, and by the end of the session they looked really harmonious in trot. Linda has promised to tell you all about this stuff from her own point of view in the comments section.
I'm wanting to work on my fluidity, too, particularly as regards riding different horses and feeling more confident with their movement. I've become very "specialised" to the way Iona moves, and I realised that most of my hang-ups about riding Bruce are to do with the way he moves. I know that if I stick with it, I will get used to him, but I have decided it would do me good to ride some other horses, too. It's a great opportunity to do that while D & D are here, as they are pretty trustworthy characters and I should be able to concentrate on fluidity quite a bit when riding them.
Weather, weeds and machinery
We've had unusually wet weather for this time of year. That means it rained about once a week for several weeks in a row. Some of the rains were pretty heavy and prolonged. I have to admit I really enjoyed it, as things stayed cool. The downside is that I now have huge weeds in my pastures. Huge numbers of huge weeds. Not good. The pastures aren't in great shape, anyway, but the grass is losing the race and the weeds are winning. Eek! (The upside is that the majority of weeds are kosha, so they are tasty and nutritious pony food.) It's got to be mowed. So, as of Saturday, I am a tractor owner. Don't picture me on a lovely shiny machine - my "new" tractor is almost as old as I am, but it runs, and I hope it will keep on doing that. My mower arrives tomorrow. It will make a change from fencing.
Linda and I got together today to play and ride. We mostly played independently. The visitors yard is proving to be a handy second play area, and Linda helped me roll a couple of pedestals in there, as mine have been leaning against a wall "homeless" all this time. It didn't take long for Bruce and Iona to start climbing on them, even without any human input. How interesting! I choose Bruce for the day. He breezed through a bunch of L3 friendly game tasks (extreme friendly: check! flag: check! toothpick on neck: check!) What a cool dude!
Although we have had some nice sessions in smaller areas, Bruce has more fun and is more willing if he gets to go somewhere, so riding around the farm with Linda was perfect. We decided to go along the grazing track. The horses have been pretty well fed recently, and also staying in the loafing shed a lot to avoid the flies. As a result, they aren't using the full extent of the track. By taking Bruce and Ducky that way, Iona and Dakota were encouraged to follow, and see that I had opened up some more of the track recently - complete with fresh grazing. That worked out well, and it was kind of fun having them along for the trip. It also provided a few interesting moments where Linda had to defend her "herd of two" as Ducky is bottom in dominance and he got pushed around a little by Iona and Dakota. We really wished that we had brought a carrot stick. Oops!
Bruce and I got on well. However, once we got to the north side all the horses got a little high and jumpy. One of those Horse Eating Doves flew up, and Linda sat Ducky's response very well! I also was aware that a few days before, I had lost Bruce walking along that stretch on line. When we came to the little ditch (not even a jump) I got it into my head that he was going to take off as he crossed it, so I hopped off. I was really pleased that he never left me on line, as that is one of his habits. However. I created a pattern of lateral flexion, disengage the hindquarters, then eat a little grass, that he picked up on really well. Next time, I will just do that ridden, I imagine.
When we came to the current end of the track (still haven't made it quite all the way around) we discussed our options. Ride back; take the tack off and let them go, and pick the tack up with the truck later; or maybe cut across the farm. Linda chose to ride Ducky back to the yard on one of the cross trails. I felt Bruce had done enough, so I dumped his tack. This was a nice opportunity for Linda and Ducky to do a bit on their own - including a couple of gates.
After lunch, Linda and Ducky had another first, as we decided to lead him back to his pals behind the pickup. That went fine once he stopped trying to race the pickup!
Linda then offered to help me with a few chores (bless her!) in the now blistering heat. We did what we could, then retired to the cool of the house to watch a bit of the Freestyle Patterns DVD. Ooh! More carrot stick riding required, we decided!
Although we had missed Sara and JR's company (next time, for sure, Sara!) we did get to see them, as they invited us over for a barbecue. It was a fab evening, and Sara and JR are both great cooks! What a fine way to round off the day. My stomach has nearly returned to its normal size now...