Wolfie and I have kept busy over the last month and I have managed to work him consistently at least 4 or 5 times a week. During the week, it has been mostly schooling as I haven't had enough daylight after work to hack. Our outdoor school doesn't have great drainage and it has taken a complete hammering over the winter with the wind and the rain. It's very deep in parts and has been virtually impossible to ride in parts. Wolfie is not a fan of that surface at the best of times, but we have perservered where we can and it has been re-spread and harrowed now, so hopefully with that and a good few days of dry weather to dry it out, it will be better.
Just after my last post, where I was singing Wolfie's praises about how good he had been, we had a few hold onto your hat rides. Bolting up and down hills, broncoing. Sometimes I wonder what the people who live in the farmhouses think we are doing. I hope they aren't watching but it is hard to be inconspicuous especially when I'm normally wearing a high viz pink jacket. It was mostly freshness, seasonal and the feeling of soft grass under his feet.
Last Sunday I hacked him down onto the line. He boldly marched across the bridge (the one he has issues with). The line runs next to the Glazert river. I've always wanted to be able to find a safe spot to get Wolfie down into the river, so on the way home from hacking I can stand him in the cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. Be good for his legs. The banking has always been too steep though. Anyway, we wandered through the forest, bending in and out of the trees to see if we could find anywhere to get down into the river. There was a fallen tree, stopping us getting any further, so we stopped and I was just looking along the river edge. I was just about to turn him to go back the way we came when he just launched himself off the embankment straight into the middle of the river with an almighty splash. We were both soaked from head to toe. He seemed very pleased with himself, playing with the water with his nose and splashing around. I didn't know how we were going to get back out and if I got off, the water would have been over the top of my wellies. There really wasn't an option but to get out, the way we had got in. He jumped back up the bank, no questions asked. At least I know he won't have too much problem with water jumps.
Yesterday, we hacked down the line again. As we approached the scarey bridge, both Wolfie and I spotted a boy just below and next to it fishing. I asked the boy if he would stand still while Wolfie crossed the bridge, which he did and Wolfie was fine. We walked along the river edge again and found a less steep place where we got down into the river without flying through the air and getting soaked. Wolfie splashed around again and then thought he might just have a roll. He was all set for walking up the river, but as I couldn't see the bottom and how rocky it was, I didn't want to chance it. we hacked up to the castle and checked out a couple of tracks we used to ride along. There are trees down everywhere. Need to get up with a saw and try and move some of them. Wolfie is an adventurer and there is nothing he likes better than finding new paths and exploring. I lost track of time and before I realised it, the light was starting to fade. We hacked home quickly. Wolfie felt like he hadn't even been out, but I was tired, I'm certainly not riding fit. I had such a good time, he was really responsive. With the clocks changing and spring coming I'm really looking forward to riding this summer.
With the few days of good weather we have had, Wolfie got turned out without his rug for the first time in..............well months.
I always feel really happy for them when they get to roll without their rugs on. Although, nos so happy when I have to brush all the mud off.
Wolfie has also reached another milestone in having someone else ride him. I feel that it is good for him to have someone else ride him. It's a big step for him as he is so attached to me. My friend at the stables had a little sit on him last week. He was really confused as he normally has me riding him or it's me working him from the ground. This time, I was on the ground but there was someone else on him. He didn't know who he should be listening to, me, or the 'other' rider. He was very good, but stuck next to me like glue and looked very confused. We have tried it another twice since and will continue to build it up gradually until they both gain a more confidence in each other. Wolfie is still looking to me for direction. Part of me thinks it would be better if I was out of sight, but I don't think that would help his confidence, so I think the plan is to stay and get gradually further away each time.
I'm hoping to get Wolfie moved onto his summer grazing this weekend. His weight is fantastic just now and he's beginning to develop muscle through work. I don't want a repeat performance of last year with his weight ballooning.