The past few weeks have been busy at work and around the farm...and muddy! Spring is the busiest time of year because I'm trying to get my flowers and veggies in, clean up whatever needs cleaned after winter, reseeding pastures and in all of that, praying for a semi-dry day to play with my horse! Unfortunately, the massive amounts of mud means I don't get to do a lot with Gabe. I can groom him and make him all purty, but the moment I turn him loose, he finds the biggest, slimiest, stickiest mud hole in his paddock and immediately rolls in it.
We got a chance to work a bit on Friday, no riding though because no one was home and I'm just not comfortable enough to ride him without someone being home yet. We did some lunge work, especially on the voice commands again. We also worked on trot-canter departs. He wants to take off into the canter like he's breaking from the gate. He gets all unbalanced when he does that because I'm asking him to do it on a circle and then he panics because he's unbalanced and isn't quite sure how to fix it on his own. But Friday, after two explosive canter departs in both directions and the subsequent "OH MY GOD! I'M FALLING!" reaction from him, he finally figured it out and started lifting off very nicely into a canter from the trot. BEAUTIFUL! It took my breath away to watch him canter balanced and quiet once he figured it out. I can't wait to ride that, I think it's going to be one of the nicest canters I've ever ridden.
I was able to turn him out in on of the grass pastures for about an hour. He got turned out alone because I knew that as soon as I turned Calypso out with him the two would tear around the still slightly muddy pasture and rip it to shreds. Alone he just stands and grazes. We've put too much time and money into those pastures to let them destroy 'em!
Of course, Saturday and Sunday bring us more rain, and more mud. *sigh* So far, according to the state climatologist, we've had 58% MORE rain in the first two weeks of April than is normal for the entire month. If we stay on this track, it could become the wettest April since sometime in the late 1800s. Nice.
Saturday morning we got a load of rocks/gravel delivered. 15 tons. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Yeah, not so much. It will do about half of the rock jobs we need to get done to make headway in this never-ending mud battle. We spent 6 hours Saturday putting rock 6 inches deep in front of Gabe's gate, in his run-in, in front of the run-in and around it. After a heavy rainstorm last night, it looks like we'll need another 2-3 inches inside and in front of the run-in. I stripped in front of his run-in and inside it down to the clay and put a geotextile fabric beneath the rock in the run-in so he won't just grind it into the clay. It stayed much, much drier than it has been, but a few more inches of rock won't hurt. He seems quite a bit happier to have his feet out of the mud and has been hanging out on the rock. Smart guy.
We've been clearing woods/brambles/weeds on part of our property to put in fence for another pasture. Part of it currently serves as my riding arena and with more of it cleared of scrub, it will be about as large as a typical arena. It's about 2.5 acres of flat and grassy land and is mostly protected by trees. I'll be able to ride Gabe there once it's all fenced. Right now, I'm not quite ready to trust him outside a fenced area. Perhaps I'm a chicken, but I'd rather be safe than on my head or chasing my horse into the next county!