Bolted out the door just before 5 last night, popped the boys in the trailer and headed for J's. The only thing I really don't like about fall? The days get so short!
By 5:30 we were saddled and trotting down the road. The temps are heading downwards this week - the 60's of this weekend are pleasant history, although there's no precip in the forecast yet. We rode through a steady north wind in the 25 mph range. Thankfully not too cold, but I was glad for my neck gaiter and gloves as the sun dipped lower.
And I was wishing I'd remembered my reflective vest! Even keeping the horses at a steady jog, we were racing the sunset to finish before dark. The traffic was much lighter than the weekend - just a few locals, all of whom are used to riders and slow down considerately. The boys don't fuss at headlights front or back, thank goodness. But I think I may invest in some reflective gear for them, as well. There are some interesting items at Caution Horses that look intriguing, and I'm pretty sure I've seen some elsewhere, too.
The deer are starting to move - or rather, since the light is fading earlier, we're riding more in their moving window. We spotted several does crossing fields or the road in front of us headed the draws and shelterbelts to bed down for the night. The combination of fading sun and fall colors made bushes and clumps of dead grass really pop along the ditches. In conjunction with the rushing and constant rustling of the wind, the fallen leaves crunched and rattled, keeping all the horses alert and on their toes. No moseying, day dreaming ride this night
I read somewhere once that the trot for a horse is the easiest gait to maintain - after last night, I believe it. Except for a pause here and there to watch the wildlife, we were jogged or medium trotted the better part of eight miles. None of the three were puffing at any point. Thunder, who I ponied unsaddled, sweated the least - his neck was barely damp midway through, and he was completely dry when we got back. Of course, he was doing the least work. Buddy was wettest of the three - he's largest, carrying the most weight, and in general sweats pretty freely anyway. Sunny was warm, too - neck and flanks, mostly. But after walking the majority of the last mile he was damp under his saddlepad and cinch, and that was it. No lathered horses here. Riding fairly regularly, along with 24/7 turnout in big pastures really makes a difference.
By the time I finished currying the saddle marks off and getting both their feet checked for rocks, Sunny was dry and fluffy enough to have static sparks stinging my fingers. Time to get out the dryer sheets, I guess. I am going to invest in a couple of coolers, though - once their winter coats come in completely, getting them dried off is going to be more challenging and I'm not a fan of hauling them damp in the cold.
And that's the riding report from this neck of the woods for yesterday.