Dixie had two days off and today we did a trail ride. I like to give them a few days of rest here and there as I think the muscles need time to recover. If you met Dixie in the beginning it would almost be like he is a changed horse but it is so subtle you might not notice.
When Dixie arrived he was always behaved when you were on him but in the barn he was a bit keyed up. His eyes were constantly bugging out at every little noise or anything that might have been out of place. He wouldn’t relax at all. He broke the x-ties quite frequently for no real reason. It was like he was standing there and then he just freaked. He would be upset but I never knew why. He didn’t have much personality and he liked me but just wasn’t a people horse. When I would go in the stall with him he would run right out of his stall.
Dixie is a changed man. He now falls asleep in the x-ties. I go out and snuggle with him in the field all the time wrapping myself around his neck and giving him love and I can tell he actually enjoys it. He loves his grooming sessions especially good curries right near the withers and on top of his butt. He is constantly looking to see what I am doing and expects some treats when I come out of the tack room. Some people don’t believe in treats but I believe treats do wonders for creating a bit more personality in my Tb’s. I don’t overdo it but they get one treat before the bridle and a treat when we come back.
It is hard to explain how different he is but I guess overall he is just more chill. He knows the program and I think he enjoys his new job and has stopped worrying about everything.
How does this tie into my ride on him today..well it’s the big picture. I go out by myself with my cell phone in a holder on my arm. Dixie used to be so alert every single thing caught his attention. Today we just plodded along until we got to the bridge. Now the bridge is scary b/c you have to cross into the road and go from the black top to the white bridge. Dixie stood quietly while I waited for a clearing in traffic and although he was looky he kept right on marching along.
We trotted for ten minutes straight until I came to a nice clearing and then we cantered along. Man…seriously nothing better than a canter across some open fields on a beautiful day. I was thinking how much I love this horse and how everybody should have a horse like this. Why…because he is so comfortable, light mouth, never takes a pull or offers to do anything stupid and the way he goes makes for an easy ride. I just watch the tempo so we don’t trot right out of our shoes (um, yeah he has a tendency to do that).
We canter up the hill and take a little walk before picking up the trot. All of a sudden we come to the freshly plowed field and holy crap this field stick like crap..chicken crap that is. Both Dixie and I are snorting and trying to hold our breathe but realizing it won’t work and we have to smell this. I really do not know if there is anything worse than a field covered in chicken manure. Rank!!!!!!!!
I guess the field must have had some dead carcasses too as there were lots of buzzards flying around and out of the trees. Dixie didn’t mind that but then again he lives in a field where geese are constantly flying in and out. Dixie decided he really was stressed by this horrible smell and it was all I could do to get him back to the canter. He kept looking around like he was expecting something to jump out and get him. Luckily, this horse has such a big brain he keeps it all together even when stressed.
We cross another bridge and go back into the woods heading down to the farm when we encounter our next issue. I am so thankful for nice sane horses. The place on the back of the farm has a plethara of junk and they tie their dogs up to trees. Well they have moved the dogs closer to the path I have to ride down.
I will paint a little picture for you. Trees with dogs tied on the left. Metal chains. Lots and lots of leaves. On the right is the tax ditch (sorta like a little river) and there is a mattress and a boat and all sorts of really scary stuff. I get to the dogs and they are quiet. I have my heels down b/c I know this is going to get ugly really fast. The dog jumps up and hits the end of the chain making the leaves rustle. Dixie does a splay legged what the heck spook but never really moves. The dog is going crazy barking and running around making tons of noise with the leaves and his metal chain but dixie is only snorting but not doing anything.
Did I mention I really like riding this horse??? Yep, you can’t find horses like him everywhere. In the next minute he is back to his normal relaxed self and we trot and canter down to the barn. He gets two treats for his braveness today.