Had to work today but got some time to ride Blue after the barn chores were complete. Jess was happily munching the tiny green blades that have pushed through the worn soil in the small paddock. I was reading in Equus about fat horses last night and I guess it is time we both work on our weight.
He was mouthy with the bit but very good overall in the big field. The 15 acre flat field is a good test for any horse. With the surrounding woods, a twig could snap from an unseen deer, a noisy squirrel could suddenly rustle dry leaves or a stray dog could show up, all good reasons for a spook! It is away from the barn and a brisk windy day could spur a bolt home should a horse be fresh or frisky. Blue's shies are usually manageable. He would have rather skipped the mandatory 10 minute warm up walk and begin trotting but with varied exercises he finally settled down. He gets bored easily and it is imperative to keep him thinking by changing his routine with circles, bending, halts, etc. He trotted well and halted well in his downward transitions without too much pulling on the reins. I think secretly he likes to be under saddle but doesn't want his mama to know. We only worked maybe a half an hour. I am trying to be careful with his back so the muscle spasms and soreness do not return. I think more time is needed in getting his muscles and ligaments in good condition before taking any jumps. And the weight...that doesn't help things, I know.
Upon our return, the dogs were in and the deer were out in the front yard which is very unusual. I heeded George Morris' advice, 'there is no need to give the horse the reins while under saddle'. I wanted to chase the deer out of the yard with Blue but I just told them to come and eat corn and sure enough, they headed to 'their' yard. They are smart too!
While feeding corn, Callie joined me and again a yearling decided to play 'threaten the cat' and was following Callie who was not near any corn piles so, this was deliberate. I used my voice only once and this yearling tossed her head and turned tail. But....Miss Shy One decided to continue the game! She lets me get close to her. In a soft tone I scolded her and she stopped to look at me. Shy One is Brownie's two year old doe twin. She is very dominant and can be very mean. She is unlike Brownie who is dominant, but in a patient and kind way. Shy One means business! I scooped Callie up and on our way back we saw Bossy's Boy go after Daddy Cat who quickly escaped around the corner. I guess it was 'be mean to kitty' day for the deer.
I am a bit worried about Brownie and Nub. They each have a spot of missing hair. The deer are still shedding making their coats look scruffy but in the two years that I have gotten close to them, there have been no bare spots. Brownie's is in the shape of a triangle near her mouth and isn't as red as yesterday. Nub's is larger and in spots on his flank. I do notice tufts of hair in the deer yard so maybe they got 'hooved'. The young bucks do not hesitate to go after anyone who is eating corn. They raise up on their hind limbs and strike the offending deer, usually on the back. Ouch! The girls do it too; to other does or yearlings, but never to an antlered buck. Bandit is sporting only one now and Bossy Boy is the only buck who has both. Other than that, all is well on the farm! Guess who was waiting for me on the driveway! So cute!!!