This week Dixie has been less than thrilled about working. I am not sure what is going on but maybe he is just going through a phase like most horses do so I have just relaxed the training routine and have spent more time hacking through the fields and trail riding. When I got him out of the field on Wednesday he had some huge bites on him that looked like mosquito bites. I have no idea what they might have been but when I arrived at the barn yesterday that had all opened and were now seeping with puss and other yucky looking stuff. Poor Dixie! Maybe that is why he was a bit grumpy? Dixie loves the hose and he likes to have his face hosed off. He bites at the hose and drinks out of it and I end up wetter than he is by the time we are done. I gave him a good bath and scrubbed out all the bites. I put some cream on them so hopefully he will feel better. If they are still bad tonight I will call the vet and see what I can give him. I have some dexamethasone in the fridge since my older horse is prone to hives.
I do think Dixie might be feeling a bit burnt out right now and that could be the case since we did step up the work this month with harder flat work and more jumping. If I start to feel them becoming moody I just hit the trails. Heck, when I am stressed and don’t feel like doing anything a good trail ride makes me feel better. I have been pleased with his progress. He is still stiffer to the right but has made a lot of progress on that side. He is picking up the right lead on the second try most of the time. His form over fences is improving and he is using his body better all around.
Yesterday, we all hit the trails. Tara was on Dewey, Rachel on Indy and I was leading the trail with Junior. I am not sure about everybody else but the bugs are horrible right now in the woods. I call them deer flies but they are the triangle looking flies that get on the ears/head/face. The person in the front always gets the swarm of flies..and that would be me. It was hot and humid when we headed out. We go out the front driveway, down a short section of road, over a bridge and up into the fields near the farm. Once we got into the fields which boarder along the woods the bugs got bad. Junior is a Conn/tb so not as sensitive as a full Tb when it comes to flies and manages to do his job even when under attack. I told the girls we have to trot so we trotted a good 10 min and then came up the hill and did a lovely canter. We were all loving it and they could not believe how good the horses were. Rachel has only ridden Indy a few times and she loves him (she wants to buy him but convincing her parents to get another horse has not happened yet :)). Both Dewey and Indy are super trail horses so I don’t worry about them handling themselves with the intermediate riders. They are quieter than my horse that is for sure. Junior is super brave but is always looking for the next “scary” thing out on trail and I have to pay attention to him as he can move quickly when he wants to.
After our canter we all walked and enjoyed being out in open. You can tell the horses welcome a change in scenery as much as we do. We do some more trotting and finish up with one good canter before we have to go back onto another section of road and across the bridge. The last section of the trail is a path that goes through the woods and winds you back into the farm. For whatever reason the bugs were worse than ever. We hit that trail and I must have had fify flies swarming Junior’s head. I told them we have to move. Now this trail is cutting through the woods and it is very winding so I felt like I was weaving through poles. I couldn’t even look back to make sure they were okay because I was focused on steering and brushing off flies. We got to the opening and I still had the swarm following me so I hollered back that I was going to canter so we all go cantering down along the tax ditch. I look over my shoulder and Indy was way in the back just trotting along looking happy as can be. Dewey was doing a nice slow canter behind me and Tara was smiling. Finally we had out ran the bugs and we turned around to wait for Indy. Rachel said he felt off and sure enough he had lost a shoe somewhere along the ride.
I am sure the horses enjoyed their ride and I was in a much better move. I have been really stressed as we get closer to having our barn and shed built. A good trail ride always makes me appreciate how nice it is to be out with friends on nice horses and how blessed we are to have such great horses who behave on the trails. I know growing up I rode a horse who spent most of his time fretting about being behind the leader yet was to scared to lead. He always waited for something to scare him and he spent more time bucking and carrying on then just behaving. I never enjoyed trail riding because we couldn’t relax. Now my horse is a hotter type but he never misbehaves in a way that threatens to unseat me 🙂 The CANTER horses are about the quietest trail horses I have seen in a while.
I am hoping Dixie’s bites look better before this weekend when buyers are coming to see him.