Today it's supposed to get pretty hot - almost 90F, which is a big change after all the cool, wet weather we've been having. I rode Pie early this morning, but it was already warm and humid - almost exactly the same weather conditions when he tied up after our easy trail ride almost 3 weeks ago. We rode almost the same trail - it has some slight inclines but no hills. Pie strode out happily - we were out about 30 minutes - and had no problem with the ride at all - his muscles were the right texture and he didn't even break a sweat. If he continues to do well, we'll add a little trotting to our rides at the end of this week.
An interesting thing has been happening on my trail rides with Pie - we just started going out two days ago. There are many shrubby willows by the trails, and Pie stops and asks if he can browse them - he's never shown any interest in them before, and they're the only trees or shrubs he's interested in. He picks off the ends of small branches and eats the whole thing - leaves and stems. I can only suspect that somehow he knows that there's something in the leaves and bark that will help his body heal.
I rode Drift again this morning. I've given him the nickname "The Screamer" for his behavior when the mares are in heat, although I've got a no-tolerance policy at this point for screaming when I'm leading or when he's on the cross ties, and he rarely screams now when I'm riding. He's still pretty distracted by the mares, so we did a bunch of leading work in the parking lot to start. I'm absolutely strict about the distance he maintains from me, that he stay behind me and that he instantly move out of my space if I move towards him. His behavior on the cross ties was a bit better, and I insisted that he not paw or call. With some horses, I might ignore this sort of behavior, but not with him - he needs clear rules and boundaries. When we got to the arena, we worked some more on leading. All of a sudden, there was a lot of galloping in the pastures. He wanted to be distracted, but we just kept on working. He was able to lead as I wanted (I did have to get pretty big with him on a couple of occasions) despite the distractions - it was hard for him but he did it - and galloping horses is a pretty big distraction.
Once I got the leading I wanted, I mounted up. After about 15 minutes of good walk work, he was starting to settle and relax, when all of a sudden I heard galloping again - the geldings had gotten out of their pasture (I thought I had closed the gate when I brought Drift in - but who knows whether it was me or a prehensile horse mouth that opened the gate) and were racing up and down the aisle next to the mares' pasture and Pie's and Charisma's paddocks. I jumped off and put Drift in his stall and went to retrieve the escapees, who at that point were mostly hanging around next to Pie - Scout, who misses him a lot, was grooming him over the fence. Once the escapees were back in their pasture, I went back and untacked Drift - that was enough excitement for anyone (or any horse) for one day, and he'd been very good considering all the distractions - and we did some more leading work until he was properly "with" me and then I let him back out. Trot work can just wait until another day.