Took a test drive last night on JB with the boots. Hopefully, what I experienced will be the first of many rides like it. The storm clouds were moving in quickly from the West and North and by the time I got home from work, changed into riding clothes, layered with fleece and wool, the flurries had already started. There was no accumulation predicted, it was likely just a passing squall but after the lightning strike that came last year about this time in a supposed passing squall, I tend to be a bit more leery of squalls.
The wind kicked up just a bit but I figured we probably wouldn’t melt. It was moving to the aast quickly. JB watched anxiously as I grabbed his halter and made my way to his paddock. I could see right away he was pretty full of himself. Since my tie post is surrounded by pond 4 inches deep, I had to elicit Tom's help to hold JB while I saddled up and wrestled the boots on. Standing still was not coming easy for JB at the moment. I could see putting on these boots is going to be process of learning how to finesse them on.JB was rather patient with me during this process but by the time all four were securely on, JB was vibrating with anticipation it seemed. With the air full of energy, both from him and the squall blowing through, I opted to heed my own internal voice telling me maybe I should take some precautions given his state of mind. The footing wasn’t going to be great and JB was acting like he might have a few tricks in the plan. I might have to relearn how to ride this horse....
I played it safe and chose to start out with taking him for a walk in hand up the road. By now , the snow was coming down heavily but off in the distance, there was a blue sky. JB exhibited more airs above ground and found every excuse to spook , rear and in general, dance on the end of the line like an 800 lb trout unwilling to be reeled in. After a few discussions about manners on the lead, and putting on one heck of a show for a passerby in a truck, he settled in a bit. It seemed I could probably help him more from the the saddle. I decided to climb on. After the initial discussion about who was captain and who was co-captain, we were off. JB offered a big energetic trot (big for a 14.2 hand Barb) with only the slightest hump in his back! The hump went away as he freed up and got moving forward. Then I could feel him let go in a big deep sigh as he reached his head and neck down. Along with that came a nice reaching trot.
We had to be a bit careful as the footing was muddy in spots and icy in others. The wind had picked up and was now whipping snow in our faces. Surrounded in gray and concerned about drivers not being able to see us due to poor visibility, I regretfully decided to turn for home after only a 1/2 mile. Better safe than sorry but once home, I knew I could ride a while longer up and down our short dead end road, where it was safe from vehicle hazards. JB continued to move out nicely in the boots. We probably only went a little over a mile in total but it was nice to ride a horse so full of energy and impulsion. This was something I hadn't seen in JB for a while while. I also wanted to make sure there was no rubbing with the boots before I considered any future longer distance rides. All things looked good when I peeled the boots off.
I don’t know if JB's improved energy and impulsion was related to the fact that he hasn’t been able to get out and move much with the 3 foot drifts in his pasture, or the fact that his feet feel so darn good in the boots… maybe a combination of both. Either way, I welcome his renewed energy. Welcome back Hot Stuff!