Not too much to report this week. It's been pretty much routine around here. Hard frost meant time to get the fall worming done and bot fly eggs removed. We picked up 25 small squares and got them stacked in the barn out at the farm. Large rounds have been coming in right along, and there should be plenty of hay for another cold winter and extended "spring" of rain and mud. I'm hoping 2012 isn't a repeat of 2010 and 2011, but we're prepared, just in case.
Didn't get too much riding in, but yesterday was too gorgeous NOT to get out. I rode about 8 miles with J and a couple of his vet student interns. The wind was brisk enough to make long sleeves feel good, although the sun was out and the temps were in the high 60's. Everything's so dry and rattly that it was a mostly silent ride as far as conversation went. Unless you were almost someone's hip pocket, it was almost impossible to hear anything that wasn't yelled.
The horses had that pre-storm, on-their-toes feel to them. Not just mine, either. They were all looking twice at almost everything, from the laid-flat roadwork signs, to the same-old, same-old cows. Steady-Eddie Caspar was about as animated as I've ever seen him, foraging ahead snorting with the rest of them.
One thing they weren't though, was hunchy. Not that I'd have expected any of J's horses to be, but Thunder.... Other than one rebellious scoot and swing to get farther away from a passing tractor, he ponied along pretty as you please, though.
Of course, the tractor evasion could have been fairly dramatic - we were on the stretch of the road that runs between to rather marshy, water-logged areas with deep ditches on both sides full of algae-slimed water. When Thunder swung and hit the halter he ended up facing Sunny, who was not thrilled. Luckily I saw the shy coming, and I was already spinning Sunny around to the left. We made a tight turn against the road-edge, managing to miss falling in, pulling Thunder along as the tractor rattled past. Then we "chased" it down the road for about a 1/4 mile.
To help keep Sunny occupied and focused on me I worked on asking him to collect for short periods. I'm beginning to feel a difference when he steps up underneath himself at the walk. Trotting... well, he's still nose-poked out hollow too much of the time, but when I ask him to round up he's finding that soft spot much more quickly and maintaining it for longer. Starting to get that engagement is darn cool.
For whatever reason it seemed as if there were a lot more hunters out this weekend than last. At least pheasants are hunted with shotguns rather than rifles, so I can worry a lot less about spent bullets! We were passed by multiple trucks with men and dogs, and rode by one group of 4 or 5 guys lined up walking a field. They paused and tipped their guns to rest for us to pass, which was thoughtful of them. Not everyone is that considerate. I've more than once been out riding and had people driving towards me slam on the brakes, hop out and shoot past me. (Road hunting is legal in SD - but not within so many yards of livestock, buildings, or where it's posted.)
Back at J's Sunny and Thunder dozed on their leadropes by the trailer while the four of us stood and chatted, enjoying the sunshine. I don't know about you all, but I'm crossing my fingers this weather holds a while longer.