Although I was and am hurting from my injury, I needed to drive Kat over the weekend. 1) the ADT is this Saturday and 2) I need to be sure he is in shape for the CDE next month. I know, it is going to be here before we know it! Dang where does time go?
Saturdy afternoon I hitched Kat up and we worked on a few things. Stopping is one, backing up is another one and he did both a lot better with the adjustments made to the bridle. How it all works this weekend in the dressage arena? Who knows! But we will find out one way or another, that's for sure...
Since the rain came down and washed the ADT out the previous weekend, there was still a big puddle out on the edge of the neighborhood along the side of the road where we normally go through to get into the desert and get Kat in shape. We also had a bit of water in our back pasture because they were draining the CAP (Central Arizona Project) canal for routine maintenance, so they diverted it through the neighborhood irrigation system. Kat was a little lit and wanted to go, but he wasn't all that fond of spending time in the pasture dodging the water. so we moved out to the front pasture.
The neighbor has been irrigating our pasture in return for seeding and turning the cattle out on it. They have several head of Angus and a few Angus cross cows and steers. Our one lone heifer Betsy is out with them to keep her quiet, otherwise she is bawling night and day because she is lonely. Kat and I routinely drive in the pasture With the cows. They mind their business and we go about ours, life is good. Occasionally we get a little close to each other, one of the steers may spark an interest and follow us, but the whip gets their attention and they lose interest quick moving on to grazing again while we go work somewhere else.
Since Kat was a little wound up already, we worked on walking on a loose rein, some softening work and moved into our trot-stop sets and did some strong trotting to let him get it out of his system. A few times he tried bolting away because the neighbor was out working on the fence. When that didn't get him anywhere but scolded and feeling like a dork, he gave up on it. We stood and talked to the neighbor for a minute too. It was good for Kat to have to stand there and behave himself.
Finally he was relaxed and responsive so we headed out. Kat was well behaved all the way out and when we hit the wide sandy path and the dirt, he still didn't need much encouragement to take off into a strong, ground covering trot. As we approached the puddle he did slow down a bit, gradually coming to a walk, then stopping before the water. He hesitated, looked at it and decided to move to the right and avoid it altogether. Why not try? It worked before...
A firm hold on the left rein and my whip on his right side blocked his exit route and with a sigh he stood to figure out the next plan of evasion. With a cluck kiss and a tap of the shaft of the whip on his hip, he went into the water with very little hesitation. We waded the whole length of the puddle and in the deepest part it was up to his knees. There were a few times that as his hoof came up out of the mud, I could hear a sucking sound as he lifted it.
As we reached the end of the puddle and the water became more and more shallow, Kat picked up a trot and started moving out. I think he was happy to be getting out of the water. He was trotting along and I was praising him the whole way. We made the corner and went along our way.
The real test came on the way back. Not only did we go through the same puddle again, and this time he went wading right in, but because of the CAP drainage, there was another puddle up ahead, but the water was also running alongside the road and heading right for us, to join up with the other puddle. Kat trotted boldly forward until he realized there was water up ahead and it was coming our way.
It was shallow but wide and making its way slowly enough, but he still balked. I made him hold his position and before long he walked towards the water. There was one area where the water had made a Y and I headed him right up the little 'iland' part of it. From there is he went left, right or forward, he ended up in the water. He didn't have a chance to fight it. Again, he let out a sigh and went right in. This time he was comfortable picking up a trot in the water and as we neared the end of the small stream at the bigger puddle, he didn't hesitate or slow down at all.
Kat plowed right into the water at a trot and just kept on trucking along. I was trying to contain my happiness and mostly keep the smile off my face for fear of eating some mud being flipped up the front of me from his hooves. He is getting to the point of being a 'point and shoot' horse. Aim him where you want to go and let him.
I obviously couldn't take pics or get video of it, but it was a BLAST! When we finally got home after walking all through the neighborhood, I slid off the cart to open the gate. While we were going through the neighborhood, Kat shook his head and slipped an ear out of the bridle. He stood patiently while I got off the cart, fixed things and got back on. When fiddling with the driveway gate, Kat shook and slipped both ears out of the bridle this time. I put it back on to get him over to where I unhook him. He stood like a champ while I snapped a few pictures of the aftermath of our adventure.
Although you can't really see it in the photos, he had a thin layer of mudd up the front of his back legs, down the back of his front legs and all along his belly. His socks are not exactly white either...
Looks like I may need some fenders on the cart... and the diamond mesh does nothing to keep the mud or water from splashing through
He's still got all four boots on!
Mud all up underneath. It was on everything.
And while I was snapping pics of the cart? Off went the bridle again. This time- all the way off.
Clowns to the left of me
Jokers to the right
But I'm stuck in the middle with you
I Love my pony!