Global Warming has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. About damn time, in my opinion. Daily highs have been approaching 60F. We're talk shirtsleeve weather. We've been removing the horse blankets during the day, letting the horses get some fresh air, and some quality rolling in the dirt/mud. The lack of cloud cover means it's been dipping below freezing at night, so the blankets go back on in the evening.
I was all set to ride Smokey in the arena this afternoon, but when I arrived there were already some folks riding. Two of them are people with whom I will not ride, for reasons related both to my personal safety and sanity. Not one to waste beautiful riding weather, I opted to head out and ride along the Puyallup River. This, of course, can be a hit or miss affair with Smokey. Since we were alone, I was removing him from his herd mates, and since home is "back that way", there is always the chance that he will spend most of the trip walking as slowly as possible, and repeatedly trying to turn around.
I was pleasantly surprised. We set out without trouble, and with only minimal application of spurs. There were quite a few people families out walking along and playing in the river today. The small kids are always excited to see a horse, with shouts of "look at the horsey", and "wow, he's big!". One lady's poodle was going bonkers barking at us, but fortunately, Smokey is dog broken, and was rather non-plussed about it.
At some point, Smokey finally decided we had gone far enough. It began to feel like I was riding a snake, as we he started weaving from one side of the trail to the other. Occasionally, he would try to fake me out with a long sweeping turn, but to no avail. Once he was back on an even keel, I let him turn around.
Now, he's fully aware that we are headed home. And is determined to make the trip as fast as possible, to minimize the risk of any chance encounters with lions, tigers, or bears. Seeing as the woods are full of them. So he starts to trot. I hate trotting. It's like riding a jackhammer, and my 44 year old spine does not appreciate it. So I slowly pull back on the bit to ease him down. He slows down, but only until I release pressure on the bit. So we repeat the process until the message sinks into his pea brain that we are going to walk home.
It was good ride, and the capper for today was watching the USA men's hockey team beat Canada, 5-3!