Saturday, April 20, 2019

A wonderful day with my Buddy

I don't get many days like this, so I really enjoy them as fully as I can.

It's Easter weekend and I felt the blessings I have, despite middle-age health issues and having my horse fifty miles away. Today could only have been better if my sisters had been home to visit. But it was a great day, nevertheless.

I drove out to my family's farm to see Buddy and my parents and all the new baby calves. (It's that time of year.) I brought him in from the pen with his friends and trimmed his hooves, then had a great ride. It didn't start out great, but it ended that way. He started out being mister fussy-britches-somewhat-naughty boy, so we worked through it to get him focused. He even gave me some trot leg-yield. Seeing that he could do that, I asked from some walking haunches-in. Bending like that was a little difficult, but it kept him focused on me instead of worrying about not being with his friends. We had gone over the hill from the farm and back.

Then we rode around the yard a little and to the other side of the farmyard. He was trotting nicely, suppling in his jaw, and even letting me let the reins out while walking without him hurrying to go where he wanted to go. We had a puddle in our path that he took some convincing to walk through but not much. Seeing how he didn't need much more than to see that there wasn't any way around, I was pretty proud of him for that. But he got even better.

Saying "Hi" to Babe and Freckles on our
way back to the barn.
We continued around the first-calf heifer lot, then continued out to where his friends were in their pen. By then, he was walking on a nice loose rein with his head level with his withers. We walked by his friends with them following us and out through a steep, dry ditch and out by the south pasture, where he got a little nervous about a huge rock and a little calf, but otherwise continued with a moderately loose rein. We rode back over the culvert rode of that ditch we had ridden through to get out to the pasture, then came back riding on the buckle along the pen with his friends. I was very proud of him by this point.

Coming back brought on some anxiety for him, as we rode between the yearling and bull lots to return to the barn and untack. He earned a double helping of grain with his supplement. For once, he wasn't super sweaty, despite the 76 F temperatures and his winter coat, which you can see in the pictures. I think his mostly relaxed state today made a big difference, since he normally is a nervous nelly (and sweats a lot to go with it). Buddy seemed so much more confident than normal today, but not yet ready to ride among the cattle. Around them with a fence between him and them, okay. With them... We're working on it. This trail riding is what he's needed for a long time. It's building his confidence tremendously.

Nom Nom Nom!
After our ride, I gave him his spring 5-way shot including West Nile Virus while he enjoyed his treat. Then, I gave him more of a treat by letting him enjoy some of the spring grass coming up--he more than earned it! He even ate along the yearling lot on our walk back to his paddock with the yearlings crowding around him. (Yearling cattle are always curious. My horses growing up who were used to working cattle would occasionally get spooked when the yearlings would run to the fence to check us out.)

I didn't get many pics, but I managed a few.

Curious yearlings couldn't ruin his treat

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