Sunday, August 19, 2012

This is More Like It

We hit the trails again this morning. I gave Steen a little snack of chopped hay before we headed out. The nights are already getting colder, and the large pasture is no longer the lush all-you-can-eat buffet it is during the peak of the summer. This time of year Steen can get nervous about food. A lot of the time when I walk up to him in the pasture, he'll be grazing and he'll start eating faster and faster until I reach him, as if he's trying to pack as much down as possible before I take him in.

It's not that he's going hungry. There is plenty to eat out there. But they have to work a little harder for it now, and I think something in their brains gets triggered by the shorter days and cooler nights. Just when the pasture gets sparse, they want to start packing on the pounds for winter. They don't know, biologically speaking, that they are going to have all the hay they can eat all through the winter months.

But I've noticed in the past when Steen thinks he's hungry it can contribute to his nervous behavior, so I thought having a little something in his stomach before we hit the trails couldn't hurt.

Another boarder, Sarah, came along with us today, on her white Arab Archie. We also had Kat on Bleikka. So we were four setting out.

I don't know if the snack did the trick or if Steen was just overall in a more balanced state of mind, but he was much better today. We had to adjust our ride, since the way we've been riding is currently overrun by the event next door, but we still got a good hour and a half in. Steen led the way much of the time. Twice he did little mini-leaps to the side because he got startled by something in the bushes, but they were very minor, and he recovered before I even corrected him.

Moving out, he felt great. We had a few long trots, and Steen was happy to cruise along on a loose rein. We went up the fabulous tree-lined lane, back by the barn and into the salad bowl and back. Like yesterday, Steen felt willing the whole ride. Even when we went right by the barn and then away from it, he didn't get sour or try to turn towards home.

So, hopefully this will be a bit more the norm for our trail rides now. It is so relaxing and enjoyable to get out and cover some ground, and the more we explore the more we find good nooks and crannies to ride in, and ways to string them together.

Ride Time: 1:35
Horseback hours YTD: 103:05

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