Highlight of the holiday

Most of my week off work was marred by flu and a terrible cough that caused me to lose my voice, but yesterday, on my last day off, Cassie and I went out with Ben and Maíre for a hack. It was a cold, still day and the countryside was quiet and peaceful. It had a dreamy quality enhanced by a light flurry of snowflakes that gently drifted down to rest on our horses’ manes. With their bare feet, Ben and Cassie were hardly making any sound on the surface of the road. It was lovely to be out again and especially in the company of good friends.

Ben and Cassie are doing really well without shoes. Starting off a bit hesitantly due to the roughness of the road, they soon got used to the feel of it and found their stride. Ben was looking for the grassy verges to walk on, but Cassie prefers to see where she puts her feet and she stayed on the road.

I have only been able to ride out on two occasions over the past few months.  The only time I managed to take Cassie out after the long freeze she was volatile and felt like a coiled spring underneath me, and it took me a long time to settle her. Yesterday Cassie was relaxed and easy to ride. The company of another horse makes a big difference and Ben is a great partner for Cassie.

Cassie coped really well with the few potentially hazardous situations. We met a young, lone horse on the road. Sadly, that is not uncommon. There are a few fields around here where horses have been left for the winter, without any additional forage.  They tend to break out and wander the roads in search of food. When the young horse spotted us, he whinnied enthusiastically and I was a bit apprehensive in case he tried to follow us. I stroked Cassie’s neck and talked to her and she calmly walked past him. Ben blew himself up like a stallion when he passed and the lonely youngster decided against following.

On our way home we met a man out for a walk with two young children. The little girl was trying to learn how to ride her Christmas bicycle and wobbled dangerously all over the road. In spite of my warning, the man let the little girl wobble on ahead of him and she nearly hit Cassie’s hind legs. I was very pleased that Cassie didn’t get upset, but it was a reminder how ignorant people can be around horses.

When we got home, we let Ben and Cassie into the picadero to roll, which they did with relish.

Maíre and I spent the rest of the afternoon trimming hooves. The progress they have made in the last few months is huge. Their hooves are growing stronger and wider and are getting a good callous. All our horses are very good-natured about the trimming. We can take our time, sit underneath their bellies and in between their legs, and our horses are relaxed throughout to the point of getting sleepy.

 The trimming done, we turned the horses out into the field and Maíre and I went into the house for a glass of wine. A good day.


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