Today it was almost 50 degrees. This is the type of crazy winter weather that I can handle! The warm weather eliminated the last of our snow and gave us a day when it was possible to ride in shirt sleeves. A side benefit was that it was finally possible to do some pasture clean up which was long overdue and not nearly finished — although any excuse to be out in the warm weather was welcome.
Today I took Freedom out for what I thought would be a long walk. The ground is pretty wet and I thought a walk would be relaxing but not damage the fields. Right. Wish Freedom had read that memo! The first half hour went according to plan. We had a very pleasant walk along the edges of some of our favorite fields. I saw my first Great Blue Heron of the season, flying low over the ground and a host of Blue Birds.
Then Freedom woke up and decided that he wanted to bounce, run, spook and otherwise ignore me. We had a few “discussions” about where we were going to go. He does not get to make those decisions.
After a few time outs and reversals of direction, we headed home. He was fine until he spotted a couple walking two dogs way at the other end of a field. My experienced foxhunter, who is fine with hounds running in between his legs, acted like he had never seen a dog before in his life. He went into high alert, spinning, snorting, threatening to bolt. I decided to take him into the ring until the dogs had passed the area where we were hacking and he got so upset I finally had to get off and lead him. As the dogs got closer, it turned out that they were, ironically, foxhounds!
While in the ring, I decided that it was better to keep his feet moving and hope that his brain would relax. We must have trotted for 20 minutes straight before I felt it was safe to try a canter. Another 10 minutes of cantering and I eventually got him to walk again.
Our ride home was going pretty well until a mountain bike came up behind us in the woods. I didn’t hear it coming at all and was taken completely unaware when Freedom shot off like we were leaving the starting gate. Luckily I stayed on and he settled down. We made it home in one piece as a cloud of fog descended enveloped us.