Today started out peaceful.
Nemo eating breakfast in the sun
I was finally able to spend some time with our horses. This past week between work, we had the farrier out, rain, appointments, rain, hockey board meeting, rained out football game, rescheduled football game, rain, sick yesterday - but today, was a good day to ride! It had been a whole week. By the time we could get out, it started to rain. We didn't care, we did a warm-up lunge in the rain anyways - and then we all took cover until it ended. So the beginning of today's lesson was, how to take cover and remain calm in rain and thunder with your human :) Koda, Nemo, and Harmony passed with flying colors. Three horses and two humans in half a walk-in is pretty cozy. Shortly after the rain stopped, and we headed out on the trail.
Koda was on fast-forwarded, unusual for him. We tackled "the corner" before Brad and Nemo reached us. Koda circled, I thought "here we go...no we don't" and we did, walk on.
It has become clear that the gravel/rocks are really what is bothering Koda's feet, and causing the ouchy-tripping. We walk on grass whenever possible, but sometime you have to cross on gravel/rocks. I feel terrible that it bothers him. He still does his occasional lazy-itis trip in the grass, but that is different. Regardless, Koda was on forward march the entire ride. When we got back to the gravel, it was back to "stumbling". I talked to the farrier about it, he said his feet are rock solid. Shoes would help, but he really doesn't need them...
Unfortunately, sudden mosquitoes came out in force and kept us all on our toes. As usual, after our trail ride we headed down the road. Before we got to the highway, Koda balked at a small piece of white paper - like it was something. Not the norm. We rounded the corner onto the grassy wide-area along the highway, and...both horses did not want to cross the muddy culvert area today. We were both busy trying to get our horses across. Koda did his usual backing, and that's when the show started.
The mud was a long strip but only 12-ish" wide, and leads into a culvert that is huge with a white insert. Water drains into it, with the recent rain there was standing water in it. The surrounding ground was mushy. Really, the culvert is a good thing. It takes water away from the field, and the pasture. Try convincing a horse.
Koda backed, I moved him forward. He chose to keep backing. I chose to correct him - but instead he scooted and the loose end of the rein slipped to the wrong side. I tried to get the rein back to the correct side (so I wouldn't drop it, if it came to that) and move him forward. Okay then, we'll do some circle work here instead and the mud strip won't seem so bad. He zigged. I zagged - and WHOA, I almost fell off! Thank god I was on a western saddle and not english, I was almost side-ways going down slo-mo when I grabbed the horn, and pulled myself up - as we spun in a circle. By then the cars on the highway slowed to watch, the two resident girls had run to the end of their driveway to watch, and Nemo and Brad were behind us watching the whole thing (which went on for a while). It was all surreal. Brad chuckled and said "next time you decide to put on a show and ride in a rodeo, charge admission" Ha ha, very funny. No, Koda didn't offer to buck - but he just about spun me off. I know that wasn't what he was trying to do. I just lost my balance. What happened immediately after, made me very proud of my boy. Koda responded and moved forward, he marched right over that mud strip without so much as a quiver. Thanks buddy, for trusting me.
Nemo said "okay, I'll go too" - and we rode on. I'm pretty sure I lit up that highway. So bright that I scared some birds, they suddenly squawked and flew up right out of the corn a foot away from us and spooked Koda. I swear we jumped three feet sideways. The rest of the ride was smooth sailing. We not only walked right over that mud strip on the way back, but the insignificant white paper too. Koda earned HUGE praise for trusting me. He made my day. I love my horse. Today ended peaceful.