So Harry had his feet trimmed yesterday. I got on him this morning, ready for another lovely ride around the block and found out immediately that it was not to be. Walking on the grass? Fine, no worries, Happy as. The minute we had to cross a gravel driveway, or walk on the road to avoid it we had problems. Ie. He was not keen. At all. We went 50m one way, to the nearest driveway. Then 100m the otherway, to the next driveway. At which point we had a short argument over whether or not to go on the road for two meters so as to get to the nice long grassy strip on which to ride. The argument was solved when a small girl came out of her house and asked to pat the horse. I succeded in getting him onto the road to be patted, and then we went home and rode in the paddock. Ah well.
We rode for half an hour in the paddock, practicing accurate trot/walk, walk/trot transitions, and riding the corners with an accurate bend. We serpentined back and forth across the paddock at the walk... I'm not sure how straight our lines were, and the tempo was NOT as even as could be desired. We consistantly went faster and with more energy towards the fence behind which his friend was waiting for him. But hey, its a start.
So, this afternoon I led both horses on the tarmac 100m down the road and back again. They have both been in the paddock for too long, and the digital cushion that should be tough and shock absorbing is soft and spongy. As I understand it, the only thing that will improve the toughness and shock absorbtion of their feet is regular work on hard and uneven surfaces. Slowly at first. It may be that I lead Harry along the road to the grassy area, then ride that down to the arena for some work. the leading on the road will be good for his feet, and the work on soft arena footing will be good for both of us.