An odd thing happened on Saturday - on Saturday the boarders volunteer in rotation to bring the horses in and feed them. Pie was in his paddock, and when Sugar's owner went to bring him in, as she led him out of his paddock gate and then turned to close the gate, he bit her on the upper arm. He didn't break the skin, but you can see distinct tooth marks and her upper arm is very bruised and swollen. Unfortunately she didn't say anything to him about it - she was too shocked and let the opportunity pass - so he may try it again, at least with her. He's never bitten me or even tried to, so I can't imagine what must have caused this - not that it matters - biting is never excusable. I cautioned her and the other boarders to never let slip any instance of ear-pinning or nudging, or pushing into their space - immediate backing should occur if any of those happen. Pie has made a "Pie face" or two at me from time to time, but I immediately move into his space and back him up. The only time he ever looked seriously mad at me was when I hissed at him - I haven't asked Sugar's owner if that's what she did, but something seriously bothered him (again, no excuse). Very odd. Yesterday when our regular p.m. barn lady was bringing in, I went up with her when she got Pie, and nothing out of the ordinary happened at all - or has ever happened in the nine months she's been leading him in 6 days a week. Today I asked him to do various things for me - stop grazing, move away from, let me pick his feet while loose, and not once did he show any signs of crabbiness or aggression. Whatever happened with Sugar's owner is a mystery to me - but I'll be keeping a close eye on him.
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I've had a series of very nice rides on all three of my horses. Saturday I rode Dawn - first time in over three weeks. Her neck is looking very good - just some bare black skin and a few remaining scabs and pleats - I actually groomed it gently with a soft curry and she seemed to enjoy it. Whenever I ride Dawn, I have to adjust - she is so responsive and so forward that only a whisper of aids is required - otherwise you end up riding a rocket ship. We did some lovely walk and trot work - not too long as she's out of shape - including spiral in/out and leg yield - with Dawn all you have to do is add a pound of pressure to the stirrup on the side you want her to move to and she's there. It reminds me why I appreciate her despite her hot temperament and reactiveness - she really tells you about what you're doing (or over doing) - she teaches me to be subtle and quiet.
Sunday Pie and I tackled the trail again, by ourselves. We rode out about a half mile - well out of sight of the barn, to where there's some nice grass and a set of rocks - I got off, loosened his girth and took his bridle off and let him graze for a bit. Then I got back on and we rode a ways farther - the farthest we've been solo since our accident. He was getting somewhat nervous and high-headed, so I dismounted and we walked together the rest of the way, stopping from time to time to admire the sights or look at strange objects. He did very well, staying right with me but out of my space and adjusting his pace to mine. We admired things like hockey nets, large farm sprinklers, laundry drying on lines, and other things. One bicycle coming up fast from behind caused him to scoot a few steps, but he calmed right down. I got back on close to the barn, and we rode around there for a bit. It was good.
Monday, Drift was up. It was warm and very windy, and he was great. We had a short, intense work session in the arena, working on transitions and also spiral in/out, leg yielding and turn on the forehand. He's really getting it and his overall softness and ability to concentrate are really improving.
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I really appreciate all the kind/thoughtful words in the comments on my last post - it's a great and supportive horse blogging community that we have!