We checked on Cali when we got there and her leg was looking much better. Ashke was in his stall in his fly sheet, which had completely worn the hair off his left shoulder. He has put on so much weight and muscle that the fly sheet from last August doesn't fit him any more. I feel bad that his shoulder is hairless, but at least it didn't do any additional damage to the skin.
I pulled him into the grooming stall and stripped him out of the flysheet, then started to work on him. He didn't like it at all, as you can see from the pictures.
His withers were very itchy.
We were going to do the Fairmount trail, but I also wanted to explore, so when we reached the edge of the soccer fields and were supposed to turn north, we kept going East on 58th to Easley, then we turned North toward 64th and then cut back West to the ball fields. It added several miles to our journey and a ride that is normally 7.5 miles or so, turned into 12 to 13.
Ashke is so funny. He treats J on her bike like another horse. He prefers to have her beside or just a touch in front of him and he gets anxious when she gets too far away. He was engaged and excited to be searching out new places and we rode most of the ride at a trot. We walked when my back and legs began to hurt or if he needed a breather, and then we would pick up the trot again. We had a couple of really nice canters along the way and I finally feel like he is beginning to understand what I want in a trot and in a canter. I'm beginning to think that the struggles we have been dealing with were caused in part by the weakness in his haunches and back and now that he is stronger, it is much easier for him to do.
J used the word floaty when talking about his trot. She said he looks so much more comfortable and his action is nice and clean. We had a lot of nice trots today.
J said the pace was great and she was able to ride for a longer period of time because we weren't going super fast. On the downhills she went ahead and then waited for us to catch up. On the uphills Ashke and I did the same.
We did some exploring, which J knows is my favorite thing in the world to do. Ashke seemed to like it as well.
I realized about half way through the ride, I had forgotten to turn on my tracking app on my iphone, which I had reformatted just for riding. I turned it on when I remembered, so we have about half the ride documented.
My new favorite picture. Although it didn't pick up the purple that was all over the field.
Or maybe this one. J said that she remembers when she first met Ashke, the horse she saw in her mind's eye, is what he looks like now. He spent most of the ride with ears and tail up.
We had a great ride and it was a lot of fun. By the time we got back I was plumb tuckered and Ashke no longer wanted to trot. He was pretty tired too. I untacked him while J put her bike in the car. We fed him peppermints to get him into the wash stall and I rinsed the sweat off of him, plus hosed down his legs. I can't believe how much bone he has laid down on his cannon bones, knees, fetlocks and upper leg (can't remember the name of that bone and too lazy to look it up.) We sqeegeed him off and I walked him outside to dry, which didn't take long due to the sun coming out for that fifteen minutes. Back to the stall we went where he stood without fussing for fly spray and then a good feed of cookies. He could hear the feed truck coming around and was very ready for his dinner.
I was so tired that I fell asleep while sitting on the toilet after I got home. Not a recommended place for a nap.