The flies have been horrendous lately. I don't know if it's because of the weather and it being so warm, but they are worse than ever, particularly the horse flies. Even Buttons who is quite thick skinned and doesn't seem to affected by them has been coming in with big lumps and bites on him. They are driving the horses nuts and it's not nice to see them getting so distressed. Wolfie is sensitive to bites and he's also sensitive to fly sprays. Both Wolfie and Buttons have been coming in during the day to keep them off the grass, but they seem quite happy about it at the moment as it is much cooler in their stables and it gets them out of the flies. Buttons in particular seemed floored by the heat yesterday, they're just not used to it. I have tried numerous types of fly sprays and nothing seems to work. I have to be careful what I put on Wolfie and he hates anything which has a strong smell. Wolfie also seems to have mild sweet itch on his tail caused by a reaction to the midges and he's been rubbing his tail. I'm trying to keep away from the brands that contain a lot of deet and citronella. I have been trailing the internet this morning trying to find something and have just spent a fortune on fly spray and a wash to try and see if it works to try and give the horses some relief.
I had a great ride yesterday. Wolfie was very spooky, which started with us passing a field that had been ploughed and had a big pile of fertiliser sitting in it. If Wolfie could have gone over and had a closer look at what it was I think he would have been ok, but from a distance I don't think he knew what it was and obviously it was potentially horse eating. He then spotted two old ladies in the distance (who to be fair did look quite scarey with big huge sun hats, flowery dresses and a shopping trolley). At the same point when he was looking at the ladies, two cyclists cycled up behind him and didn't speak or alert us that they were there. This caused him to leap off all 4 legs and came back down with sparks practically flying from his feet . He was powering along with every muscle tensed and ready for flight. A leaf came off a tree and landed on his hind quarters and he again leapt 5 foot in the air. It really is like sitting on an unexploded bomb when he's like that. I just spoke to him and kept him moving forward and straight. He wasn't being asked to go anywhere he hadn't been before, he was feeling out of his comfort zone and the accumulation of people and scarey things had got him a little overwhelmed. He wasn't being naughty or silly, he had genuinely got himself in a tiz, however he didn't nap and was listening to my aids. He was very tuned into my aids and was super responsive. I crossed the wooden bridge (with Wolfie walking like he was on hot coals) and hacked as far as Haughhead before turning for home. We came out of a shaded part into the sunshine and Wolfie leapt 4 foot sideways at his own shadow. That's the second time he's nearly put me in the Glazert river. We then hacked the short distance back along the road. Normally I don't take my hands off the reins to slow traffic, but as Wolfie was so spooky I wanted the traffic to be aware and pass us slowly. He was being so responsive to my seat and leg that I felt I could keep him straight whilst taking my hand off the rein to slow the traffic. Two motorbikes and a van were approaching too fast. They had seen us and obviously didn't see the need to slow down. I signalled for them to slow, but they didn't bother. I was so angry. Not only are they endangering themselves, but how dare they frighten him like that, he doesn't deserve it. Fortunately, although he was still bouncing along, he stayed straight and we hacked the rest of the way home on a loose rein. He got a huge pat yesterday. He loves to be told how good he has been.
I don't know why it was such a good ride, as Wolfie was pretty difficult at points. I think it's because it's another thing we've overcome. He was genuinely frightened, but he didn't do anything mean or underhand and he accepted and looked for direction from his rider. I have always tried to install confidence in Wolfie from the very beginning (it's his creative side I try not to nurture), even when I am not feeling very confident myself, I owe it him to keep my adrenalin low, be quiet, calm and effective and provide him with comfort and reassurance. I am beginning to feel that the trust Wolfie has in me on the ground is now being transferred to our ridden work. He is honest and it makes me hopeful that one day he will be the sort of horse that will go that extra mile to get his rider out of trouble, if the need ever arose. Can't ask for any more than that.
Have I mentioned recently how fantastic my saddle is.