Pie and Charisma and I had another nice long trail ride yesterday. Before Charisma was ready - I joke with her owner that she's the slowest groomer and tacker around (and she agrees) - Pie and I did a little excursion through the farm buildings at the organic farm across the street - lots of equipment and stuff to look at and he asked to go over there, some walk/trot figure work on the hill behind the barn, and we also tried out some sidepass and a few canter departures. I knew he had a sidepass, but I'd forgotten how nice it is - he just calmly steps to the side, staying straight and crossing his legs nicely, in both directions. More proof of the good foundation his old man put on him. I'm also fortunate that he doesn't have much "sidedness" - he does things pretty well in both directions and travels quite straight. The only thing I've noticed is that his head and neck don't bend as well to the right - he tends to get a crampy area in the left side of his neck that I've been working on with massage. His canter departures are very clean as well on both leads - we couldn't do much canter work as the footing isn't good enough. We'll need to work on all his transitions once he's done more softening work - he tends to "leap" into his upward ones (better than sluggishness) and we just need to smooth it out a little bit.
At one point when we were doing our work on the hill, the geldings started tearing around in their dry lot - for some reason they were really worked up. Pie pretty much wasn't bothered by this, we just kept working. He did call once and was thinking about wanting to go to them, and so we detoured briefly behind the barn to have a visual barrier and stayed there for a few minutes until he calmed down. When our p.m. barn lady drove up, she rescued poor Fred and brought him in - Fred is a senior and was just worn out but Scout was still harassing him. Scout and Fritz calmed down and Pie and I went on with our work.
No herons on our trail ride, but Pie was very interested in stopping and watching children play - first at a playground we pass near by and then at some children playing basketball in their driveway. I try not to hurry him along too much when he wants to stop and look at this point as he enjoys it and it helps him learn about new things. And whenever we're on the trail that passes close behind my house, Pie always turns his head to look for my husband - I think he saw him in the yard one day. Pie seems to recognize specific people very clearly even if he's only met them a few times, and he really likes my husband (who really likes him too). Perhaps Pie thinks, when he sees our house: "oh, there's your barn!"
I was pretty cold when we got back - it was somewhat windy and the wind chills were in the 20s. Today it's rain, rain, rain all day so no riding for us, and my farrier is coming to do Dawn and trim Pie. But another sign of spring - Dawn's coming out of her ice/snow shoes!