White German Shepherd!

We tacked up and went out for a hack, through the owl woods, across the road, did some canter work in the big field in the park. He felt pretty good on both leads today and he was just cheerful as all getout. What a treat he is!

Yeah, this is a photo that I snagged off the internet, but it is a reasonable facsimile to the dogs expression during our encounter.

Yeah, this is a photo that I snagged off the internet, but it is a reasonable facsimile to the dog’s expression during our encounter.

As we were trotting through the woods across the lake from the beach, we came upon an older couple with a loose white german shepherd. He came bounding up in an interested but friendly manner and gave his mom and dad apoplectic fits while Austin merely looked around for the other 30 hounds, never missing a step. They gathered up their dog and apologized profusely while I assured them there was no problem and we carried on with our trot around the lake. We did some more canter work in the field back on the 3G side of the road, then walked home. Nice day.

Austin the good man

It was about 9 when I arrived. He was about to go out in the pasture, which he knew because he already had his supermask on. Despite this, he walked over to me when he saw me with the halter and went willingly with me to the barn. Awwwww…

I groomed him and fed him cookies, tacked up and headed out on the trail. We went down the owl trail, back up the marathon trail up the hill, to the first hazard in the woods at the top of the hill, down the crazy trail (that I can’t believe people drive their horses on!) to the lower hazard off the hay field, cantered around the hay field using both leads equally, then went back up the crazy trail in walk. Then we followed the marathon trail to the south, a lot of it in canter, which went well. We walked the last 3/4 mile home. He gets stuck to the left sometimes and doesn’t want to volunteer to bend right. Other than that, he’s pretty well a treat. We both had a nice time.

Beautiful day for a hack

We rode in the beautifully cool morning. It was in the low 70s with low humidity at 9 a.m. We hacked down the owl trail to Peterson Park and went east to the bridge. We stepped over a few downed branches from the recent winds. Then we went into the meadow and did some canter work, which went very well after I convinced him that right lead really was a requirement sometimes. Very nice day.

Like Jurassic Park

…without those pesky velociraptors and such.

It was a day set to be as hot as I imagine the Jurassic period was, 80 degrees at 9 a.m. and humid. So I brought Austin in and tacked up and headed for the shady trails that go south from the driveway entrance in Peterson Park. I love these trails as they are not well-used, but still well-maintained. The foliage along them this time of year is lush and could easily harbor velociraptors, but luckily Austin and I showed up about 150 million years late for that.

With that happy thought, we walked down the trail on a long rein, over twists and turns and up and down small hills to the bridge. He was relaxed, with a great tempo and ears up the whole way. We encountered less than 10 horseflies through the entire time, and I am happy to report that 8 fewer are drawing breaths because of my efforts this morning.

When we got home, we had a nice rinse and I turned him back out to graze. He’d like to remind you that his princely self is out of fly spray, and thanks for the new bag of cookies. Very yummy.


90 degrees and humid, so we started out with a hack in the occasional shade of the training track. We worked on letting go in his poll. Then out for a hack in which, to my surprise, he did quite well despite the heat. In fact, in the first canter, he got a little rowdy! In the second canter we were able to actually stay a bit softer and on the aids.

By the time we hacked home from the marathon course he was fairly light in the bridle. I grazed him for a few minutes before turning him out.

Marathon course

Another nice day, if a little hot, but out on the trail we went, on the marathon course. He was at first VERY tight in his neck and looking at everything. I spent a few minutes discussing following the rein, yielding and relaxing his poll and giving him an immediate release when he did. He caught on and we went out and had a good ride, other than having to remind him a few times that he was to stay relaxed over his poll and his topline. But he let go more quickly each time and ended up walking home on a completely slack rein and balanced over his feet. Excellent.

Hack to Peterson Park

I brought him in from the paddock and let him eat grass while I curried him. He was all about both things. Then I tacked up and went out on the trails to Peterson Pits. We went down the Owl Trail (I’ll show you sometime), crossed the small creek and went around the outside of the hayfield. He shied mightily at a tractor in the adjacent field, for which he was given a clue that he is supposed to get a grip. Geez, we live in Iowa, tractors are part of the deal.

Then we crossed the road and into Peterson Park. He had just enough edge taken off that he settled into his work nicely and we enjoyed a good hack until we found the trails were closed. It was 85 degrees and humid, so it was time to go home anyway.

I rinsed him when I got home and then let him graze for 20 minutes, which he was all about.