New Improved Aero?

Why do I always end up with the filthy horse?  Usually it’s Flurry who has plastered himself in muck, but today it was Aero.

He even made sure he got it all over his face, too.

Not only did I have the dirtiest horse, but I also had to fit twice as many hoofboots as the LSH… moan… grumble… but eventually I was ready and we set off, walking through the lavender field across the road from the farm.  Our plan was to do this loop :

heading towards Reillanne following a footpath and then coming back up through the woods and fields – about 5.5km.
Aero’s happy ears in front!
The New, Improved, Aero led almost the whole way.  Apart from one “SQUIRREL!!” moment early on (I think it really was a squirrel, it was light brown and had a long bushy tail) he was foot-perfect.  He was interested and looking around, but the underlying tension I’d been feeling in his body in October and November is gone.  Has he settled in?  Recovered from the trauma of the long journey?  Decided that he likes being a trekking horse?  Was his back sore and the osteopath fixed it?  Did he need a break?  Or is he just feeling ultra-mellow because of the warm weather?  Time will tell… but for now, I’m enjoying it!
Flurry settled into riding-school “follower” mode behind Aero, so the LSH got lots of photos of Aero’s bum.

Believe me, there’s loads more but they get a bit boring!  
Then the LSH wanted us to turn around and face him for a posed one, which is harder than it might seem… Aero trots away from Flurry.  Flurry speeds up.  The LSH slows him down.  Flurry shakes his head and snatches at the bit.  The LSH nearly drops his camera.  I stop Aero and turn him around.  He poses beautifully for precisely one second and then decides that he wants to rejoin Flurry.  I correct him.  He pokes his head out, makes faces and fidgets.  Meanwhile, Flurry continues to try to creep forward, ruining the LSH’s focus.  Eventually we both say “Ah fekkit, that’ll do.”  
Yes, it’s a little out of focus.  Blame Flurry.
This was the same route that I covered in Show me the Way to go Home and I was still a little uncertain about the start of the second half of the trail.  There are acres and acres of featureless oak woods, criss-crossed with tracks and trails of various sizes, many of which just peter out, and all of which look similar.

The scrub oak woods

We put Flurry in front to find our trail, and despite the fact that we both know he’s good at finding his way, I have to confess that, once again, we doubted him, saying that “worst case, we make our way to the road and follow it home.”  Eventually I recognised the place where the track Flurry was following veered off to the right and Flurry most emphatically veered off to the left.  We are now calling him “our little homing pigeon.”  

No, LSH, not that way!

We passed close by some hunters at one stage, we heard gunshots from some distance away and then saw a large black dog at the far end of a field, and then further on we could hear a clochette ringing nearby – hunters put bells on their dogs so that they can track them.  We talked extra-loudly, just to be sure they wouldn’t think we were deer.

When we got to the top of the last ascent near the farm, we dismounted and let the horses graze.  We also removed their bits – it’s easy to do with the Micklem bridle, and it’s something I want to get into the habit of doing when they are given permission to graze.  I got lazy and sat on a log, and Aero was checking me out for carrots rather than grazing at first, but he got the idea eventually!


After about ten minutes, we carried on home.

I spent some quality time with Flurry, brushing the sweat patches off his face,

Aww, no mum, not behind my ears!
**smooch** well alright so…
but only if you brush my ‘tache as well!

Afterwards, we visited our local hostelry and enjoyed a couple of these in the sun!

2013 is looking pretty good so far.

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