The day was warm and somewhat humid. My energy level was waning due to being up until 1 a.m.
I had only had 4 hours of sleep. The previous evening the farmers came to bale the hay....4 bales later and the baler broke. They struggled to fix it and then finally drove away....presumably to have some supper.
My two boys decided to make their escape and took off with their friends. By 7:30 pm the farmers were back with a working baler...which actually was working too well as it was shooting the bales clear over the back of the tow wagon and they were landing on the ground and breaking apart again...but they soon reset the shooter and all was well.
I phoned my boys to come home, they brought 2 friends and the 5 of us spent two hours getting the hay in to the barn. I should have taken pictures...what is wrong with me!...my boys were actually WORKING!
Eric is the bug magnet and promptly got stung by a bee after only unloading 2 bales of hay, and so he had to go get ice and spray etc.....while we unloaded 50...
Then at 10 pm I got in to the house and realized that my spaghetti sauce was still simmering on the stove....so I stayed up half the night canning the 11 quarts....
Ok, back to riding eh?
So Today, Thursday, I wasn't very motivated to ride. But at 5:30, I dutifully pulled on my riding boots, tromped to the barn, fed the "boys" and then saddled Red up.
I was happy to see that Falcon's hock was looking MUCH better...not so swollen.
I hand walked Red down the trail to the corner and mounted. He made one attempt to turn for home, but one snap with the crop and he turned and took off at a nice fast walk.
He walked and trotted slowly up the hill, spooking at every log again. I was having to put out a lot of energy to keep him moving, but at least he WAS moving.
At the entrance to the Radio Tower trail, he balked for the first time. Then acted as if he had to pee...and then did pee. I am finding that he always has to stop and pee shortly after leaving home. Maybe it is his nerves. I don't know.
Soon I had him moving though very slowly. It took us 20 min to go 1.4 miles. Falcon can do it in under 10 min. I tried willing him with my mind, but that didn't work very well.
Amazingly though, we made it to the Radio Tower, which is where I hop off and handwalk down the East side of Piney Mountain. This was the furthest I had ever been with Red alone.
Also when I jumped off, I felt so close to the ground and realized that Falcon is so much bigger than Red.
The east side road was worse than when I had taken Falcon down it on Sunday. The shale type rock was very loose and slippery and I about fell at least 3 times.
Red was not impressed with the unstable footing and balked several times.
Gemma and Cola trotted happily along with us as we made the turn on to the paved Valleyburg Road. Red was very steady with all of the zooming cars and barely flicked an ear at a motorcycle...and I was glad it was Red and not Falcon tonight.
When we reached Summers Road, I tightened Reds girth and stepped in to the stirrup, he took off trotting as I swung up on in...What a nice fast trot for home! I wished that I had brought my GPS to check his speed.
He trotted nicely for 1.5 miles until I slowed him down due to Gemma and Cola, who's tongues were dragging the ground!
Then we trotted some more to my neighbors property. I didn't want to ride through their back yard and looked for a way through the woods. I dismounted and led Red under some branches, but there were just too many briars and we couldnt get through.
I brought him back to their mown trail at the bottom of a short steep hill. As I started to mount, he took off at a canter up the hill and I hung on to his mane and saddle and managed to get my butt in the saddle as he reached the top of the hill.
Good gracious, he sounds like Sinwaan, pokey mokey leaving home and a burst of energy when headed back.
Anyway, I made him walk on their trail, so we wouldnt tear it up and when we reached our woods trail I let him have his final canter for home.
As I have said before, I don't like letting my boys RUN home, but he is so much fun at the canter, I let him go...bad me!
I guess it was about a 4 mile ride. One of this days I might check that mileage too.