I've had a couple of really great rides on Red this week. It is such a relief to be riding. I don't really like lunging – and neither does Red, so I'm happy to have tack again so that we can go out into the wood together.
Suddenly the weather here is quite spring-like. It was so warm on Saturday morning that I didn't bother to take my coat. I don't know whether the photograph quite shows how delightful the day was.
Now that we only have one horse to ride, we take it in turns. I rode first on Saturday so that I could take Red on ahead and have a few canters – to give him the chance to really stretch and exercise. 'ö-Dzin came off him the week before because Red came down one of the steep stretches of hill too fast. As Red trotted round the corner at the bottom of the incline, Red and 'ö-Dzin parted company, with 'ö-Dzin ending up in a heap on the ground. He was okay—if a little bruised—but I'm sure he came off mainly because he still isn't terribly well.
So on Saturday I took Red on ahead to the far end of Coed y Wenallt where there are a few good stretches for cantering. I asked Red to lope up the hills, and he was puffing a bit, so we must ride out together more often so that he can get a bit fitter. We also did something together for the first time – we jumped two logs! I was proud of myself. It was the first time I have had the courage to take the opportunity. I know J took him over a log now and then, but I had never had enough confidence. We are getting along so well now, he is so much more willing and always ready to canter, that I decided to give it a go. He sailed over each log and seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself. I'm not about to suddenly take up show jumping, but it's good to feel that Red and I are working so well together. I always knew Dee loved to jump and would take any log in the wood, but it has taken me a long time to feel ready to try it with Red.
We then headed back to find out how far 'ö-Dzin had walked and to swap riders. 'ö-Dzin just walked Red home. I got really warm in the February sunshine walking back—especially trying to keep up with Red's 'going home' pace—and even had to take my jumper off. This is amazing for February, and I hope it continues. As before, Red stopped and waited for me to catch up a few times – so sweet.
His mud fever is now nearly cleared up. He has been reasonably well behaved about having his legs seen to, but I will not be sorry to lose this chore. Let's hope the unseasonable sunshine is a portent of a good summer. Then perhaps the fields will have a chance to dry out for the first time in over a year, so that the horses no longer have so much mud to contend with.