September 30, 2010

June 1, 2009
Lesson today, finally! But, I don't have much to report.

First, I switched his bit from a single-jointed, pinchless, D-ring to a loose-ring, french-link, pinchless one. I had bought the bit awhile ago but never got around to trying it on him. I think I'm going to ride him in this one for awhile, as he went really well in it. (Seemed to be chewing a bit less on it. I think I will go buy bit guards for it though, just to be safe.)

I rode him down to the arena, and he was great! He wasn't too sure about the recycle bags that were at the end of a couple driveways, so we gave those a wide berth and kept going. He stood nicely by Diane's Pilot while we chatted - I love that he is relaxed (lazy) most of the time and willing to hang out.

We got into the arena, and I started trotting him around to warm up. After a few laps each way Diane had me start to ask him to drop his head like we worked on last time. Well, he thought that was a terrible idea and was putting his head up higher and ignoring me. So, I got my wish, and Diane hopped on him! She rode him around while giving Helga a lesson at the same time. He was pretty resistant about that whole idea at the beginning. But eventually the light blinked on and he started going nicely. Of course he couldn't hold it for very long, but he was trying hard. Then he'd have to throw it up and be stupid, but once she got him going forward again he'd drop and continue on. Since I've been pretty much the only person to ride him - Diane has ridden him twice before for a short time - I never get to see him go. It's different to watch in person vs. a video clip. It was so nice to see him go! Man, he's really filled out and it looking really good, especially when he was putting his head down and using himself correctly. (He was screaming "I want to be an English poneh!" to me!)

At the end I hopped on him and rode him for a couple minutes. Oh, it felt nice to have him lift his back and use himself properly. He was being pretty speedy, but we can work on that. I hope we can get him going well this year, which will make it so much easier in the future.

June 3, 2009
So, everyone already knows that Nova's awesome, but he just proved it again today!

We had a lesson today, so I tacked him up and rode him down. He seemed to be a bit excited today (why, I have no idea, it was pretty darn warm out!). We had to wait for the guy to finish working the arena (first time in like, ever), and he was a bit unhappy about standing still, but nothing too bad. Of course though, when we get in there, he has to eyeball the scary tire-tracks like they are going to eat him. It was pretty funny, actually. So I rode him around and over them and after about a lap he started to ignore them.

We start off with a trot, letting him warm up. Of course, since he's feeling spunky, he breaks into a canter a couple of times and decides to run through my aids (going to the left, on the open part of the circle), but we got that sorted out and he was slowing down/settling, and turning. So after about 6-7 laps each way Diane had me work on getting him to lower his head again. At first he was pretty inconsistant - head up, down for a few strides, pop head back up, put down for a couple strides, etc. But after a few laps, it was amazing!! He'd start to hold it down on his own and actually search a bit for some contact - and do this for half/three quarters of a circle (lap). Oh, it felt so good. We'll work on refining it later, but for right now, he's lifting his back and powering through. So much so that I had to keep asking him to slow down sometimes because he was just motoring around. Let me tell you, he feels like quite a powerhouse underneath me when he does that!

So we got to take a small break while Helga was working with Tika on the canter, and then it was our turn. We blew the right lead a few times, but once I got it... Oh, it was magic. It was amazing how he'd do his best to keep his head down (without my asking) and round up and carry himself. He wasn't totally consistent, but when he got it, ohhhhhhhhhhhh it felt good!! And for the first time I was allowed to canter the entire arena, and poor Nova had NO idea what to do when I asked him to go straight down the rail. We did a big veer and I had to really open my outside hand to keep him even sort of on it. It was kind of cute. I noticed that he really put himself together on the corners, so that was nice. And he even had his head down, and kept it down for the downward transitions.

So after another quick break, we were off to the left. Of course this is his good side, so no problems with the lead. Again we did one circle at the far end of the arena, then we went off down the long side. He was better this direction because I think he figured out how to go straight! He got speedy going down the side, but I was able to collect him up again and slow down a bit on the corners. Again, he was really trying to put his head down and go nicely.

I just have to say this, and it deserves it's own paragraph! Both directions, there was a point when he felt AMAZING! He felt so round underneath me, his head was low, and his canter slowed to a just fantastic pace - almost like he wanted to stall out, but he never did (he must have been really balanced). Holy moly!!! I have never ridden a canter like that before in my life, and it was just great! In fact, I almost cried a little after our last canter. It was just a ton of improvement from our last lesson (and the last time I cantered him last month). Diane was really impressed I think, as she was quite complimentary about it all! (And of course, you couldn't have gotten the grin off my face if you'd tried.)

Helga and I went on a mini-trail ride after (aka, took the long way home through the bush and new subdivision), and of course, he was excellent. He had to learn though that Tika does not like it when he gets too close to her, so he had to settle with a bit of distance, and he did. Helps that it was warm and he was sweaty and tired. But he was so chill about it - walked on a draped rein the whole way.

Again, I love my horse. He's come sooooo far that I can't really believe it sometimes (especially when I think that I've done almost all the work myself). He's just wonderful. I love him.

June 12, 2009
Tonight I decided to try the saddlebags on Nova for the first time. So, tacked him up, led him down, and threw him on the lunge line after I'd put them on. Well, he did exactly what I expected - nothing! He had his ears back listening to them, but didn't seem overly worried about them. I even asked him to canter - because if I'm going to get any reaction, that will be when! Still nothing. So I think it's safe to say he won't have a problem with them.

After that, I quickly bridled him and hopped on so Mom could take some pictures. Well, she snapped off about 212 pictures in the 15 minutes I was riding! Nova was very good. I only worked in half the arena, and just did some trot and canter work. I let him start off with his nose in the air for a few laps, then asked him to bring it down, then cantered, stopped, chatted for a minute, turned and repeated! So, here's a (big) photo sequence of that. (And please don't mind my humped shoulders - I'm terrible for that, and no one was yelling at me to sit up! And my hands are low because that's how Diane has been asking me to ask Nova - so when he gives, I float them forward and ask him to come down and find the contact which he does sometimes.)

All in all, he was really good. He picked up both leads of his canter first shot, so we only did a few rounds and then I stopped. He seemed to be listening to me and felt good. I know we still have lots of work to do, but we're getting there!

June 15, 2009
The weather was super muggy out - cloudy but very hot. Let's just say that I was very warm by the end of the lesson! Nova seemed a bit nervous on our way down - he didn't do anything, but he also didn't feel 100% relaxed. I just figured it was because Rhythm had 'abandoned' him for the back pasture after he left the pasture. I suppose it was just foreshadowing!

We started to trot, and he was good, but then all of a sudden he got really chargey and wasn't listening to me. He thought he should canter (I swear, sometimes that's the worst thing you can ever teach them!), and he was just not listening to my attempts to get him to slow down. I'll admit there were some less than pretty moments, when I really set him back to get his attention on me. Diane had me doing small circles on him and really asking him to bend and give his head to me. He did settle, eventually.

So Diane had us canter. We went left first, and he was good about picking it up. It felt off though, as he was much more up and down on his front end than usual. He was listening okay though, and it was a decent canter. We tried going to the right, but he was being very stubborn about picking it up. So much so, that Diane hopped on and worked with him. A lot at the trot, but she did get two right lead canters out of him. Have to say, he looks good even when he's being bad!

I hopped on him again and rode him around for a couple of minutes and you could tell he had a 'tune up'. I will say that his knee was very slightly swollen that day - from a scratch - but he was sound on it. He could have been having a bad day, or his knee could have been slightly sore. What little swelling was there did go down during the lesson, but I cold hosed it when I got home.

But, I do have to say, even on a real bad day, Nova really isn't that bad! Just acting his age for a change. (Helga was pleased that Nova was having a bad day finally!)

June 17, 2009
First off, his knee looked 100% today, so I was happy to see that. Diane was going to ride Rhythm today, so I had to tack both of them up. But she was also going to bring her english saddle for me to use on Nova. I'm not really sure why, but he ticked me off a bit on the way down - I think it was because he was walking fast, and Rhythm was walking slow, which is very frustrating. But he was also looking like he had a bit 'extra' in him today, so I was also half dreading the ride (thinking of Monday's lesson).

Helga was nice enough to let me borrow her lunge line, and I threw him on it for probably like 2 minutes. Just enough to trot both ways and canter to the right (not the left, because that's his strong side, and I knew we'd be cantering later on)- and find out that he did not have any extra energy. He started off at a nice trot, and he actually felt pretty darn good. Responsive. we did about five circles each way and Nova did well with passing Rhythm (she was going the opposite way with Diane). He did have a couple moments as we moved to the other end of the arena about not wanting to turn left across the arena. So we had a slight discussion about that, and he was much better about it.

We cantered to the right first, and he was good. Got his lead and was listening pretty good. We were using the whole arena, and he got a bit speedy sometimes (of course) but he did settle and it felt pretty good. Ironically though when after our short break I went to ask for the left lead he gave me the right one two/three times! I did get the left lead, actually on the long side after making an effort to bring his front end off the rail and push his butt towards it - it worked and he got it and off we went. He's going to be a real dream once we get the leads all figured out! It's like he gets so happy about cantering that he mostly just tosses a lead out at you, and not neccessarily the correct one. I was pretty happy actually because Diane complimented me on moving him over to get the lead - and how you don't usually do that with babies but it worked.

Diane then suggested that I switch over to the english saddle. So, Nova stood like a rock while I stripped off the western and fiddled around with the english. It's a wide tree, but it seemed to fit him okay today - so I think it will work okay enough until I can sell mine and buy him his very own. Anyway, I felt so odd because I haven't really ridden english in a year. I walked him around for a couple minutes so we could both get the feel of it, and then we started to trot. Whooo boy! He sure wanted to motor around like a crazy horse. Well, for Nova it was! Perhaps he was loving the lighter saddle, haha. He was going really big, and we actually worked on getting him to slow down (you know, so I didn't end up falling off). It took a little while, but I got him down to a really, really nice slow trot (both ways). Like, show ring worthy! And while I wasn't really asking him to put his head down, I was riding with contact and he was lowering his head and it felt really good!

It was definitely a better lesson from Monday, and I'm looking forward to Friday and riding english again. My big english pony finally gets to be the real deal! At least a bit.

June 19, 2009
My boy is totally an english pony!

As I said in the last post, Diane is being very generous and allowing me to borrow her (super comfy) Lynn Palm english saddle for lessons. It felt good to be riding english again, especially on Nova.

I was expecting him to be kind of quick to start off with, because he was yesterday, and then because he has been getting a bit fast and trying to break into a canter during the warm-up. But, he was good. It was a nice pace, not too slow, but not trying to barrel around the arena like an idiot. He also felt good when I had to pick up my inside rein and add leg and move him back over to the rail. We did five circles each way at the end of the arena, and then down the long side to do a circle in each end before walking.

After our warm-up we moved into the canter. This is the year of the canter, according to Diane! We went left first, and he, I have to say, was terrible at picking it up. I do think it's because of the different saddle, and I'm okay with that, but he was so bad compared to what I'm used too. You know, the add leg and get canter instantly. Today we had to do a bit of running into it, but my dad (who came to watch) said he did really well - so it wasn't even that bad I guess. I must be spoiled. Anyway, he did good, and we cantered around the whole arena, and he was staying a lot straighter on the rail and not even getting too chargey. I also felt really secure in the saddle, so that was nice (I wasn't flopping all around at least, haha).

As you can probably guess, he was bad picking up his right lead. Had our normal wrong lead departures, but we did finally get it. He was also good that way. Very similar to the left lead. Diane then had us do some simple changes across the diagonal (ended up doing one each way). We ended up following Tika, so it wasn't quite as smooth as I could have made them because I didn't want him to get too close to her back end. (I realize now I could have done and extra circle to put some distance between us.) But, it was also not a bad thing because when I went to pick up the other lead, he was a bit quicker about it because Tika was ahead of him and already cantering - but I did have to wait until she started before I asked, so we didn't have and problems. I will say that he felt really good going across the diagonal at the canter - he was straight! We might not have been 100%, but again, I was still trying to keep an eye on Tika and not get in her way.

We then got to chill out and watch Diane canter Rhythm before she made us work a bit on bending and getting them to move their hips out. This was a tough one for Nova, especially to the right because that's his bad side. He likes to just lean and fall into the circle. But, I was getting a bit of response from him (baby steps) to the right, and a better response to the left.

It was a good lesson, and I'm really happy to be riding english on him. Diane said we might start some trot poles/small x-rails with him soon and see how he does.

Dad was also nice enough to bring his camera down, so I got some shots from today. I think he's looking pretty good! But, I'm also pretty biased too.

June 20-26, 2009
Day 1
We left Saturday morning for the mountains! Of course, Nova was more interested in eating the yummy lawn grass than wondering who the strange horse calling from the trailer out at the circle. He loaded well, and was in the last stall of the trailer, as that's the way it worked out. As far as I know he travelled well the whole way down. It was cute the couple times we stopped (once to open all the windows, once to gas up/eat) he would call out. He unloaded well, and didn't even get very excited about the new environment of the campground. He wasn't too sure about the tie-stalls at first (he didn't want to walk all the way in), so I sat on the edge of the manger and just waited. He eventually came in and seemed to relax pretty quickly. He was on one end, beside Trapper. We gave them some hay and let them settle in. After supper we took them for a walk down to the river (which is a pretty decent walk), and he was pretty looky and walking pretty quickly! He didn't react as much as I thought about the river. But it did take him a little while before he decided that it was okay to drink from.

Some time before we took them for water, Nova managed to do the impossible. Or, well, not so impossible I guess. He managed to unclip himself (not untie, unclip the clip on his leadrope), turn around, then turn back around and be standing like an angel when we went back down. I'm thinking he must have managed to catch it on something and pull it open... I'm still not sure how he managed that!

Day 2
This was our first day of riding. It was cloudy and cool out, and had rained most of the night before - I was not pleased. Nova was toasty warm under his blanket, so at least one of us was warm! He stood ok being tied to the trailer. Unfortunately, a couple people were leaving right as we were tacking up, so there was some trailers moving, horses being loaded, and just a bit of action going on. He stood ok for me to tack him up, but I could tell he was pretty 'up' when I got on him. We jigged through camp out to the trail head. Of course, having two dogs come running out of their campsite and attack Shauni was not very helpful. He was very jiggy on the first part of the trail (ugh), but he wasn't out of control. The first ride was basically an old road, so once we got out there, and Julie and Mom let us lead, he did settle down. He still tried to jog, but I was able to get through to him that walking was a better option. There was a lot of puddles on the trail which he was definitely not very pleased about. I let him go around most of them to save myself some hassle. I did get tired of getting wet legs from the branches brushing my pants, so he did have to walk through some of them. He was not happy, but after following Trapper/Rhythm through a few of them, he was doing better. We had to cross a bridge (big enough for cars) across the river, and Nova followed Trapper right across (literally plastered to Trap's butt). I think he didn't even know what he was doing until he was across it. The river was very loud right there because of a big of a rock face, so it was pretty scary.

Our lunch stop was short, just because of the cool weather. Nova was trying to get into trouble with Trapper because the two of them were grooming each other's necks, but then he started to try and bite him playfully... So he got moved away to a tree. Unfortunately when we bridled up again, we left right away and back down the same trail. So he got pretty hot and joggy. (If it's one thing I can't stand, it's a horse that jogs - so he managed to pick up the one bad habit that drives me nuts!) Even out front he wasn't settling down, so Mom had to ride first with Rhythm and keep her doing a slightly slower pace so he would settle down. It did work, and he did calm down and walk most of the way back to camp with very little jogging. On the way back across the river he followed Trapper again, but this time he noticed the water underneath him and got bug-eyed about that, but still walked across pretty nicely considering.

Along the trail there were a few very tiny streams for them to walk through, which was a good introduction for Nova to having to cross water that moves. He followed either Trapper or Rhythm across all of them, but that was ok!

I was frustrated with how joggy and excited he got, but in reality, he handled the ups and downs of the road very sanely. (You know, the cardinal rule is we walk up the hills, and down the hills.)

Day 3
This was Nova's first real river crossing day. It also dawned cloudy and cold. I wanted pictures of this big occasion, so our plan was for Julie to cross the river, then take pictures of Mom and I crossing. Well, that didn't work out as planned. Trapper crossed like a champ, but then Rhythm wanted no part of crossing. After a slight 'discussion' Mom got her across, but I couldn't get Nova in right after her, so we ended up hanging out on the one side by ourselves while they were on the other side. Nova was quite happy to stand there and not get wet. Julie was very nice and came back across to rescue me. She ended up coming over, going back halfway, then turning and coming back to try it again. Nova was not willing to even put his feet in the water, so I had to use the ties on my saddle to slap him a bit to encourage him. He did finally decide to go in, and we crossed right behind Trapper. (Poor Julie got a bit wet from Nova's splashing.) He went across well, and didn't scramble or stumble. A few minutes down the trail we had to cross another river, but it was broken up into three different sections. We followed behind Trapper again, and he did a lot better.

The trail then followed along the river. On our way out I spotted a wild horse (yes, literally wild) in the trees off to the side. Nova wasn't very concerned about it at all. We then turned onto a different trail - and well, it went up. Lots and lots of up! I was really proud of how well he did! He just dropped his head low and picked his way up. The trail wasn't bad at all, but there were points where he did have to watch where he put his feet. Just before we stopped for lunch, we did do some downhill and he did well with that.

Again we had a short lunch (this time because it actually started to rain on us), and again, Nova was pretty up when we started out again. Rhythm got to lead us again, and that did seem to help. It was frustrating when he forgot that we walk up the hills and he wanted to jog up them. But he did finally settle down for the most part. He had one bad moment where Rhythm got out of his zone, and he had a slight meltdown because she got too far away. Ohhh, that ticked me off to no end. Trapper was right behind him, and there was no reason for that. Other than that, he walked nicely down and picked his way when he needed to. It's nice to know he doesn't get excited about stuff like that.

In the same open meadow that I'd seen the wild horse on our way out, there were two standing in when we were on our way back. I don't think Nova got excited about them, but he got jiggy when the other two passed us and so I decided to get off and walk him. He did better crossing the river on the way back - he's getting the hang of that water pushing on his legs!

Day 4
This day was a pretty easy day. We were going to ride up the road to a trailhead (to avoid the part of the trail that is nasty - long and a very steep up). As we were going along, Nova was dogging it pretty bad. So we ended up turning back early thinking he was tired and we didn't want to push him too much. We did have to pass a herd of cows that were on the side of the road, and Nova did really well. We were behind Trapper, who could have cared less about the cattle, so I think Nova took his lead from him. He was alert but wasn't tense. (He has been pastured beside cows at my aunt's house, but that's different than riding beside them.)

Not really anything else to say, as it was sort of a 'lazy' day.

Day 5
This was our unexpectedly big day. Friends from Calgary were supposed to haul out and ride with us, but something happened and they were unable to make it. I'm kind of glad about that because I wasn't looking forward to the chaos that two new horses would add to the group. We were originally just going to ride down a different old road to a different 'camp' and then come back. But, due to some 'errors' that I'm not sure were not intentional, we ended up on the trail that we were thinking about taking. Nova had to cross the river a couple of times, and he was doing much better!

(On our way along the road, we actually saw a herd of wild horses come out of the bush onto the trail a short ways infront of us. There were two foals in the group. Once they spotted us they took off down the trail away from us. Nova got a bit excited, but after about a minute of not being able to see them, he settled right back down again and could have cared less.)

Anyway, the trail after we rode along the valley on the road, then crossed a river, went up. Lots and lots and lots of up. I could tell Nova was a bit more tired as he was willingly stopping on his own for 'puff breaks'. The trail wasn't too bad - the footing was good. At one point we stopped for a picture, and Nova did not want to stand still. So much for being tired!!

We stopped for lunch at a really nice spot with a great view. Of course, Nova was being a brat and pawing and moving around the tree, trying to eat grass, etc. Basically acting not the least bit tired, and nothing like he does at home.

As this was a loop, we continued on after lunch. Nova still got excited (the little button-presser), but managed to stay calm enough that I didn't threaten to send him for dogfood. The trail after lunch got very wet and muddy. The ground is good under the mud, so they were only sinking about fetlock deep in most of it - so nothing very bad. I was proud of how Nova did through it all. I know how much he hates mud, but when I directed him to go through the middle of it (or over enough to get around tree branches) he did and didn't fuss about it (nor did he get any more excited). After doing some trail searching for the unmarked shortcut, we climbed a bit more. He wasn't completely settled, but he was doing okay.

After the climb we came to the downhill. Holy moly. We actually didn't even attempt it, and got off and lead the horses down it. It was very, very steep. Nova did well, but he kept wanting to walk faster than me. At least he didn't walk on me. (I don't blame him, because it was a tough down with some loose rocks/ground.) After the worst of it we fixed my saddle and we got on to ride the rest of the way down. It was much better after that. He felt like he wanted to trot down some of it, but with just a light touch of the reins he was walking and going nicely.

At the bottom we had to cross the river again, and this time he went first! I didn't even have to encourage him much at all. It was a nice crossing, and the river wasn't too deep, but I was still pretty proud of him. We then joined back up with the old road, and had a long hot walk back towards camp.

There was one point when I got very upset about him and his jogging. Trapper was ahead of us and got a bit 'far away' and Nova had a meltdown. After some cussing and some circles, and very seriously threatening to send him for dogfood, Julie put Trapper back behind and Nova was okay. I was not happy about that because it didn't solve anything, it just stopped the problem. It was probably for the best, but I really wanted to have it out and solve the issue, because it really does tick me off. (Especially when the other horse is right behind him, so he's not alone at all.) He was good for the rest of the ride back. He wasn't even nervous of the people on bikes that passed us.

When we got back to the camp, Julie took Trapper along the trail while Mom and I stuck to the road through camp. Nova got excited and started to jog, so I decided to keep him jogging and keep pushing him into it. We went slow, and we jogged almost all the way back to the stalls. He wanted to stop a few times, but I kept him going. When I did ask for a walk he gladly walked. Of course, we were ahead of Rhythm and back at camp, but it made me feel good to have made him do something he didn't want to. Haha.

Day 6
After the 'killer' of a day before, and this was our last day to ride, we kept it easy. I've forgot to mention but after the first day we kept things very low-key as we were leaving camp. I would mount up first and walk around and get Nova paying some attention, or we would all walk for a couple minutes down the road and then get on - it worked well. This day we rode out on the same trail we did on the first day - in a much more respectable way! Calm and nice. We went down the same old road again, and this time we played our 'leaf game'. It's a game we created to ease the boredom of the trail sometimes. We take leaves off of the branches along the trail and then throw them at the other person. It may sound like a terrible game, but I think it's actually a good thing for the horses. They get used to us leaning over to grab branches, moving amongst the group, and having things flying through the air around them. Nova's great at this game, and could care less about leaves flying around him/by his head.

It wasn't very far down the road where we turned off on this other trail. Wow. It went way up in a hurry - complete with switch-backs. This was the most rocky trail we'd been on all week. Nova really did have to pay attention to where he was putting his feet. There were a couple steep downs where he had to step over the roots and rocks and again, he didn't get excited about it. We did turn around and come back (the trail was a dead-end trail anyway), and ended up walking them down the last bit because it was pretty steep. Nova did better about walking behind/beside me and was more willing to be slow.

Back on the old road we once again played around with the leaf game, and we actually got all our horses to walk side by side so we could hold hands. I was so proud of Nova as we were in the middle, and I didn't have my hands on the reins, and he didn't even break into a trot or fall behind.

The wind came up pretty badly just as we were almost back. We'd decided to ride in a different way and come through the people camp and then back into our camp. Nova got a bit excited about the wind blowing up his butt - but I don't blame him as it was pretty wicked. Once we were into the other camp and in the trees it was a lot better. We did just beat the mini-storm that blew up just after we got back and unsaddled - whew.

Day 7
Home day. We had pulled the horses out of their stalls for a final cleaning, and I had Nova tied to the hitching rail with Rhythm and Trapper. For some stupid reason he freaked out (I don't know if he got his head under the rope or what), and pulled back. I expected the rail to break, but it didn't. I was screaming at him, and he finally stopped pulling (and thankfully Rhythm only pulled back once and came forward). Of course, he managed to get the back of his halter over his ear and it was pinned down against his head. It was so tight that Mom and Julie had a hard time slipping the throat piece back so the rest would slide back. (The halter wasn't on loose, but obviously it was just loose enough to do that. I did tighten it up to the last hole after that.) He had made it all week without a single pull-back, and I was hopeful, and then this. He is definitely spending a lot of time tied to the hitching rail with the rope halter on now. Not really sure why at 4 he decided that pulling was okay, but he's going to learn at 4 that it's a really stupid idea.

Nothing else much to say, other than Nova loaded well, travelled well, and then when we stopped for lunch somehow managed to destroy his feed manger. No idea how he did it, but he's not getting one again! I can't afford to keep replacing them.

He got a bit excited when we dropped Trapper off and he had to stay in the trailer, but it was more just slightly impatient pawing than anything. He unloaded well at home, and instead of dropping to roll when we turned him loose at home... He ran down to the grass and started to eat. Silly boy!! As if he hasn't spent most of his time the last week stuffing his face with as much hay as he can handle.

It might have sounded that I wasn't very happy with Nova through this trip, but I actually was. He handled everything that we threw at him with his usual level-headed self. Didn't get worked up about the river crossings or the up and down hills, or anything else. He couldn't have behaved any better that way. He just could have not picked up stupid excited jogging!

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