I was grinning wildly on the way back down because Izzy felt unbelievably sure-footed, especially for a horse who has never carried a rider up and down that kind of terrain. And I know what sure-footed does and doesn't feel like. Izzy wasn't at all worried about the unevenness of the footing, but more importantly, he paid attention to where he put his feet and packed me up and down that hill like he'd done it a thousand times. And he was on the buckle!
I was woot wooting my greenie as he tucked in right beside Taz and started munching away. He hadn't shown much of an interest on our earlier rides, even though Taz has been grabbing grass all along.
They're usually really big, surrounded by ditches and holes created by the cattle themselves, and they just look weird. Our endurance horses learn to navigate the clumsy footing and dodge the various floats, covers, partitions, and hardware.
When I pointed Izzy toward the trough, he marched along smartly until he got to within about ten feet of the water, and then he slammed on the brakes. I could hear him clearly exclaim, Holy shizola! What the heck is THAT thing?
He swerved left and right totally intent on avoiding the pool of death. KG gave Izzy a moment to think about it, but then Taz walked up slowly and began to drink. It took Izzy another moment to evaluate the situation, but then he stretched his neck as long he could and touched the concrete sides with his lips.
And then very cautiously, he scooted closer and closer until he could drink. And that was it. He tanked up, took a deep breath, and then drank some more. We stood at the trough for several minutes letting both boys get their fill.
And guess what? We're heading to a new trail and staging area today!