It has been quite a while since I've posted - bad me! We're not 100% settled into the new farm yet but as each week passes, it feels more and more like home.
I've been enjoying the trails on our property and actually prefer doing my work with Mac out there. We usually do just a small walk warmup in the covered arena, then go out to the trails for walk-trot-canter and lateral work. It makes the work more interesting and he certainly enjoys it more than being in the arena.
I groomed the trails using the box scraper with teeth to pull up the weeds, and then the riding mower to cut down any tall grasses or weeds that were left over. It has been a good system and I'm so happy with that feature of our property.
I think I taught Mac something the other day. After our ride on the trails, we went back to the covered arena. There was a tarp laying over the fence between the arena and Princess Fancy Pants's paddock and I thought I'd pick it up and play with it in front of PFP so she could see that Mac doesn't care about it. Mac started playing with it (biting it) and pulled it off the fence. I was too lazy to get off and grab it and get back on, so I told Mac to pick it up and give it to me. Well, he did! First he picked it up and played with it but when I reached up to grab it, he dropped it. I told him to hold it so I could get it. He dropped it a couple more times. Then the last time, he held it and I reached around and got it (and then gave him a cookie!) and we walked around with it. How smart is he!?
Yesterday we went trail riding for a couple hours on the BLM trails near us. We have a couple water crossings to go through to get to the open space where you can ride forever (seemingly). The past couple times I've been there, I've meandered my way along the water to find the best (most shallow because the ditch is narrow - wide and deep is okay, shallow and narrow is okay, but deep and narrow doesn't make a good combination for walking through) place to cross. But it is hard to find because part of the trail was closed off for cattle grazing so my usual route had a detour. On the way home, though, Mac decided that the shortest distance between two points (meaning where we were and where home is) is a straight line. We got to the ditch, he put his nose down to have quick drink and eat grass, then he jumped the ditch from a stand still (I was prepared so let him have his head and grabbed the horn) and we went on our merry way. We did this twice because he wanted to go home and he's got quite the built-in GPS system so knows the fastest way. Historically, I usually let him pick the way home and he always picks the fastest way. I don't every worry about getting lost with him because I trust that he can always lead us back to home.
Then when we got home and I was untacking him, he put his nose down to the hose in the aisle that I use to fill the water buckets. He was thirsty! Okay, I know horses aren't stupid by any means, but I just thought it was interesting that he recognizes a horse for what it is and he was telling me that he wanted a drink. We went into the wash stall and I hosed him down then put the hose in front of his head and he took the nozzle in his mouth and had a nice long drink.
He'll get the day off today and then maybe another trail ride tomorrow!