When we reached the top gate, I gave him a treat and let him go. He accepted the treat, paused for a moment looking at me, and then headed back to the other horses at a gallop - bucking, cavorting and calling. It was a pleasure to see his exuberance.
Did I do the right thing? I don't know - but I reckon that a horse that is wound up, not wanting to leave the herd and not wanting to be with you is not a good proposition for a solo ride. He may have settled down and behaved perfectly or he could have been agitated and overly anxious to get home. I did not feel it worth the risk and decided to go with ensuring my safety and his comfort. I'd be interested to hear my readers' comments. Some may say that in letting him have his own way I have set a bad precedent, but I trust Red enough to know that he is usually happy to be with me and likes to go for a hack. Usually he comes to call and follows me up to the yard without any encouragement and even without being led - but not today.
I then went up to the top fields and found Dee. I groomed her thoroughly getting out a lot of the old winter coat. She is not her summer colour yet, but it is coming through. She is still looking a bit thin, but her coat is glossy and she seems happy enough. After I finished grooming her and took off her headcollar, in contrast to Red's behaviour, Dee did not want to leave me. She stayed with me for quite a while, letting me stroke her. This is not usual for Dee, especially as she seemed to be enjoying my stroking her around her face and neck and kept nuzzling me. This could be an indication that she is feeling under par so I must keep a close eye on her and ensure that she starts to put on weight now that the spring grass is coming in. It has been a long, hard winter.
The photo of Red is in fact from the end of May last year. The buttercups are not out yet this year.