Transitioning: Ben has had a couple of days to get used to the feel of his unshod feet. On observation, he seems good on the track and in my new, not yet fenced, arena space; judging by the poops I have to remove, both Ben and Rosie like the surface we have put in it for now:
This is called 3/4 down, meaning it is quarry screenings from 3/4″ down. It is laid on top of larger stones which are on top of rock. I do not know how it will last, it may pack down too much, but for now I will work with this as a picadero for the winter. Later I may go for sand, on top, and fence with kick boards, but that is an expense too far at the moment.
So after careful cleaning of feet, I lead Ben out the gate for a walk in-hand around the roads. Interestingly, he was reluctant to go up the track towards the gate. He looked nervous. I gave him time to think, which resulted in licking and chewing, head coming down and out we went. Our back lane has grass up the centre, but beyond that, this is the surface he had to walk on:
It really is quite rough. He went carefully, walking more slowly than usual, finding his way to smoother parts, which were few and far between. I gave him plenty of grass breaks along the way. This photograph of our lake was taken over Ben’s back as he grazed some nice long grass.
As he grazed, he was bravely able to ignore some black cows in a nearby field. However, as we walked past, those cows formed a line and decided to keep pace with us which brought Ben’s head up, nostrils flaring, until he realised they were not going to leap out and attack him.
So, I won’t be riding Ben for a while on our roads. This is a move into the unknown and I feel like Ben in a way, heading out head up, watching, wondering what is going to happen.