Although the pictures seem grey, it was actually really beautiful and calm today on the Winter Solstice.
I was determined to ride Laz today and the weather cooperated.
It's been a few weeks since I've used the large arena, so I checked the footing (me running around in it) and it seemed great.
I free lunged Laz in the round pen sans blanket being the weather felt a bit warmer. I wish he would roll in the snow, but he didn't. He was a bit fresh and came in and out of concentration today.
One minute he was following me and listening to my every ask, the next he would canter around and tilt his head and zone out race horse style and got very defiant and pissy. Odd. I worry about when he does that because in the past, when he zones out and starts running, running, running, he builds up more energy and attempts to test the fence as if wanting to bust through. Lately, he's been great and calm but today he showed signs of that behavior is not yet completely gone.
In the end, he came back, calmed down and I decided it was time to ride.
It was a great ride.
We saw two Cardinals! Spring??? lol
The snow gave Laz a good workout and we just walked and he was great. Light, spook free and ears pricked forward but relaxed body language, lots of licking and sighing.
Then, there was an ODD noise from the neighbors (the ones with the TB eating Colt) farm that not only got Laz's FULL attention, but all the other horses too.
It ruined our beautiful ride. I felt Laz literally amp up to full tilt and start shaking. I thought he was going to blow out right beneath me. He became obsessed with that noise (sounded like squealing machinery?) and then very frightened. He wouldn't bend. He got VERY heavy in the bridle as if nothing would stop him if he was ready to bolt. He wouldn't stop staring over at the neighbors and shaking. He was breathing very hard and inhaling deeply and blew that ALERT snort.
Somehow, I kept it together and remained calm and sat heavy on him. I decided to stay on him and move him back to the round pen to see if that offered any security. It did a little. We did our serpentines for about 10 minutes and that helped, but truly very little. I walked him around and just talked to him but every time he heard that noise (every few minutes) he got so scared! Poor guy.
When I finally got him to relax a little more, I took him back to the big arena to see how he would react. He was scared again. I just simply asked for a circle and didn't push our luck. I didn't want him to bolt which I was feeling could be the next step. I had a sense he just wanted back with his herd. I listened. I dismounted him, patted him for remaining calm and not bolting/bucking. He was so tense that I even decided to untack and re-blanket him in his paddock vs out in the open like I usually do. I just sensed that there could be too much room for him to freak out and hurt himself, so again, why chance it.
I have to say, even though it turned from a bit of heaven to scary..I was proud of Laz. He was very scared and didn't melt down completely. Although we had a major communication gap and I felt him tuning me out several times, he never completely lost it and left.
Scary noises make for great head shots, lol!
Once out in his paddock, he ran to the Alpha Mare, Jessie and spun around facing the scary noise. It was cute. Was he protecting her? Or was he going to her for protection? Whatever it was-it had all the horses tuned in.
Sweet Mason cut his foot probably when doing his sliding stops to fetch as his body races to the toy. The snow/ice combo does that to him. I try to make him take it easy but he just won't.
No problem, I put some DermaGel on it, padded it with a cotton ball and vetwrapped it and he played another hour with no care.
So far, riding and playing in this snow has not been too bad!
I think it could offer some nice conditioning overall.