Rugby's hoof trimmer was scheduled to come by and work on him today. Sure enough, I got the call and was at the barn to meet the trimmer and his wife at the usual time. Rugby was a gentleman to work on and I think this was his fastest hoof trim yet. All four hooves are great. Healthy, no thrush, no cracks and good strong hoof wall. Love!
It was sunny and a bit warmer today so after the hoof work was done, I brushed Rugby off and saddled him, figuring I'd do a little groundwork and lunging for respect. The footing was thawed enough on the surface to be comfortable to walk trot and canter on, as well as toss a buck here and there. But overall Rugby was a good boy. He enjoyed being asked to do something and was so good I decided not to stop with the lunging. I removed the string from my training whip, switched it with his lunge line and attached to his rope halter. I mounted up and did lateral flexing exercises from the saddle. Then dismounted, walked him around, remounted again and repeated the flexing exercises from the saddle.
I was so happy with him. This was the first time I tried him bitless from the saddle and he was a champ. Granted, it wasn't much, it was barely what you'd call riding but a year ago if he'd been sitting around for a month in the middle of winter and you asked me to try that I would have thought you were joking! I love my big fuzzy Panda Pony. I'm wishing for spring so we can really get our game on.