This winter has been absolutely glorious. Proof that it has been glorious: this past weekend, there was an outdoor jump clinic (will write about that later) and on Monday, Hannah and I took the boys to Freetown-Fall River State Forest.
Hauling out and hacking on February 20. FANTASTIC.
I'm committing myself to being braver about hauling, and Hannah has these wild and crazy plans about doing a Long Distance ride, so we are seeking good, local places to bring the boys to and get in some good hacking. Freetown-Fall river fit the "local" part of the bill (~45 minutes, even hauling) but we were a bit nervous about its advertised motorcycle trails and the fact that it is a hotbed of the Bridgewater Triangle.
Apart from a roving pack of beagles (who were all nice, just very nosy) none of our misgivings came true! Both horses behaved beautifully. Tristan walked right on the trailer - he stopped a few times, but he stepped up when asked, and he never flew backwards. They hauled great. They came off sensible and gentleman-like. They tacked up quickly and easily.
The trails themselves were great. We spent a solid 2 hours walking, trotting, and cantering, and we barely scratched the surface. A fair bit of the trail was hard-packed road, nice for walking but not something I could really trot Tristan on. There were also some lovely technical single tracks, though, and our discovery of the day was a network of glorious bridle trail: perfect springy turf footing that we ran and ran on.
The cutest moment of the day was when Hannah took Tucker for a run up ahead, leaving Tristan behind. Mind, he's not energetic enough to do more than walk quickly when another horse leaves him, but when Tucker passed out of sight and Tris realized he truly was alone in a cold, cruel world, he let out one long neigh of misery. Luckily for all concerned with his general patheticness, Tucker came back a few minutes later. My loner, antisocial mustang betrayed himself there - poor baby.
Tris was definitely quite tired at the end of the day, and glad to be back at the barn. I left out some bute for him to take a bit of the sting out of his feet and the soreness out of his muscles.
Can't wait to get back, and if the weather holds, we may be able to haul and hack out much earlier and more frequently than we did last year.