I choose not to warm him up in the arena, instead we headed out for the Mesa. I walked Ashke out past the outrider barns and mounted up from a bale of hay. We headed out, made it through the gate and then Ashke lost his mind. He had no desire to continue at a mannerly pace, instead insisting on lifting his front feet off the ground, backing incessantly, and otherwise being a tool. I finally got him to stand long enough to get off under my own power. He started rearing and bucking and generally carrying on. I had fitted the halter under his bridle and had the rein attached to the halter ring. I just let him run out to the end of the lead and work around me in a circle. Here are the last 30 seconds.
He was snorting and galloping in a small circle and I moved with him to try and keep him from slipping. The snow was hitting the high powerlines overhead and hissing and spitting. Every time we ended up under the powerlines, Ashke reacted poorly. I think the electricity in the air was setting him off. He finally worked enough out of his system to walk like a civilized horse next to me.
He wasn't happy from the very first step.
Big fluffy white flakes floating slowly down from an overcast sky. I hand walked him up the road to the fork that leads to the bridge, and then down that trail to the bridge. At the bridge I mounted up and rode the trail to the main road.
Ashke had no problem going forward. He had a hell of a time standing still, though. And he walks so much faster than anyone can follow that I had to wait for the walkers to catch up. J and T were geocaching and found one near the bridge. Ashke wouldn't stand still so we spent our time riding in circles around the bushes nearby. Then we walked up the trail to the main road, then paced up and down the main road waiting for the walkers to catch up.
You can see from the tracks on the ground how unwilling Ashke was to stand still.
I think he enjoyed himself, even if it was difficult to find patience, or listening ears. Overall, he was very up, but still listened. Just couldn't stand still.
This was the attempt to stand still look. We rode up and down the road while J and T found a second geocache. There were powerlines overhead and the sizzle of frying snowflakes was making Ashke antsy. His front feet left the ground several times.
The road back to the barn was steep and he was dancing. He was trotting slower than T and J were walking. I threw pride and appearance to the wind, got off and hand walked him home.
I know for a fact this is the first time he has been ridden in an active snowstorm. He spooked a couple of times, and was a handful, but never made a concerted effort to get rid of me. After I started hand walking him, I put T up to give him a chance to ride. Ashke was very careful to behave while T was up. T got down to try and figure out why the snow was covered by catepillars, so I grabbed hold of Ashke's breastplate to help keep me from sliding on the snow (was not expecting to hike in my cowboy boots). I could feel Ashke become more careful, bracing himself as he stepped in case I slipped and he needed to catch me. It was a pretty incredible feeling.
It was a great day and an enjoyable ride, even if half of it was spent walking.