I had an enjoyable afternoon yesterday, and all three of Missy, Red and Pie and I had rides together (Dawn and I spent time in the morning grooming). I had planned to ride Missy and Red, but hadn't been able to ride in days due to the weather, and it's getting very cold and windy again starting today, so no rides again for a while. I thought Pie would appreciate getting out and stretching his legs a bit - the pastures are snowy and icy and very chopped up so there's little chance for the horses to run around.
All rides were excellent. Missy and I did started our real trot work - we'd trotted before but only briefly - since her softness, relaxation, stretching down and bending at the walk were going very well. Yesterday, all we worked on was maintaining forward at the trot and asking for stretching down and relaxation - we only got a few moments of that but it's the first step and that was very good. I was also very pleased that, only one day after her hoof trim, she was completely sound at the trot. She seems comfortable now on all surfaces, both hard and soft, at five weeks out of shoes, even though she's still got a lot of changes to her hooves to make.
The ring was extremely crowded for my rides on both Missy and Red (Pie and I had an empty ring, which was lovely and allowed us to do some nice canter work), and they both dealt well with that. I was riding Red when the arena door opened and the new mare (the one Dawn remembered) was led into the ring for a hand walk around. Suddenly, Red was on fire - his head went up, his neck was arched, his eyes were on stalks and he was intensely focussed on the mare, he was sniffing loudly and wanted to follow her around. As we did our work, he was on springs - extremely forward and animated in his gaits. He usually notices new horses, particularly mares, but this reaction was much more extreme. We kept working until he relaxed a bit.
And then I remembered - Red knew the mare too! He was only at the old barn for a year before we moved over here, and was never in the mare's herd, but was stalled next to her and saw her every day. I think this is a good reminder of how social horses really are, and how important their relationships to other horses, even relationships that aren't that close, are to them. It'll be interesting to see how Red reacts the next time he sees the mare.