Here is a funny angle of my chub-a-lub, Pie-Pie, before our ride. (My saddle and saddle pads and his withers look weird - I don't think I rode with it like that - I usually make sure it is right before I get on!) Our temperatures have been warm (70's) and the leaves are just starting to turn colors - light green, yellow and some orange. The boys are getting fuzzy and black as the daylight hours shorten and the nights become chilly (40's).
All three horses have worked through tough spots like pros on our rides this week. Here is the background information about how we got into the tough spots:
Because of all the earlier rain, we lost some trees in our woods. Above, you can see a giant tree is blocking a trail. (Blurry cell photos.)
I used our much loved Honda to re-route a new trail around the down tree. I don't know where my dad got this mower, but it is a little powerhouse. My grandfather used to keep these woods open with a bush hog. Now, my mom and I hand trim the trails (arduous work but fun!) and I plow the tough stuff with the Honda. It thinks it is a little bush hog. I don't drive it over rocks or big limbs, but it handles grapevines and honeysuckle vines perfectly. Also, its small size makes it easy for me to get into tricky spaces.
Here is the new trail around the big tree.
Brian and I don't do chainsaws so we were fortunate to meet a great friend on Craigslist a few years back who would clean up our trees for us in exchange for firewood. This year's crazy stormy weather, though, has brought our friend so much firewood locally that he doesn't need our trees anymore.
A kind high school friend happened upon us one day and brought his chainsaw to help us out. I was bareback on Sovey when he arrived and I wondered what Sovey would think of all the noise and commotion. Of course, the old soul Sovey was unflappable. He rode around the woods, peeking in and out at my friend with the chainsaw and golf cart and tools, with zero reaction. None. I told Brian this story and he says that Sovey is a professional. In Brian's words, "Sovey might not like it, but he knows that humans do loud, obnoxious things, and he is used to it."
The next day, little brother, Foggy reacted (or didn't react) the same way to tree trimming. I was out on a ride on Foggy when our farmhouse family started trimming their trees with a chainsaw. Foggy didn't seem to notice. In fact, after we finished riding and I had untacked him and headed out for post-ride grazing, he dragged me down toward the farmhouse apple tree. I could not believe how close to all that noise we had to stand. Frankly, it was embarrassing! We have the whole farm and we had to be right up against them while they worked.
Even Pie did well, although, he wasn't tested with the actual chainsaw - just the aftermath. I took him out yesterday to see that the down tree was gone. He was used to using my new trail in the woods, but this was his first time to see the big tree cut up. He snorted and backed up and whirled around. I turned him back and asked him to walk forward. He moved two steps forward, snorted so loudly that I think he scared himself, then he backed up fairly far. Unfortunately, Pie backs very well - too well. He backs slow and lovely and relies on this comforting tactic way too often. He got a loose rose branch stuck in his tail, and I thought we were finished. Luckily, that fell off. Pie stood still and looked and I gave him the reins and leaned my body forward. I patted him and squeezed slightly. He snorted and walked forward. Then, he walked through the open space with the new wood piled on both sides. Good boy! I don't think he would have done this a year ago, but he is getting much more confident about trying new things.
The woods on our farm are aging and our trees are falling. Luckily, we planted all those seedlings in May so there will be paths in new woods some day. Here Maizie is showing how tall a Crabapple seedling grew already. Maizie is 5'5" (!) to give you some perspective. The silver lining of all that rain!
Also, I won an award...many thanks - I will post soon about that!