Echo had a day off on Friday, as she had worked very hard in the lesson on Thursday. Yesterday, I managed to catch our usual hacking partner at the yard, and arranged a hack in the afternoon. I am so glad that I did, as it was a great ride.
The wind had picked up a bit by the time we went out, but when we are in company, Echo doesn't seem to be very bothered by the wind. We went out through the heathland and into the forest. The route we went on required us to walk down a road for a short stretch - something we haven't done before. Our only experience of roads has been walking along parallel to one, but a few metres away, and crossing a road. Luckily, we didn't encounter any traffic, so I didn't have to deal with that!
Once we were in the forest, we had some good long stretches of trot, where Echo was very forward going. It's funny - I find it much harder to keep my balance in the trot out hacking - I think it must be because we are on rough ground and going slightly faster than we would in the school. I have to concentrate really hard on not getting in front of or behind the movement. Cantering, however is fine!
Our first canter was through some woods on a sand track - it was a nice long track, but is not on any kind of incline, so Echo was quite fast! I had to steer her behind the horse in front, as she was picking up quite a bit of speed. I try to control her with my weight rather than my hands out hacking, as I don't want to be hauling on her mouth. The next canter that we had was rather more controlled and I was able to sit up and enjoy it.
We cantered quite a few times on this hack - it is so good for her transitions to do plenty of canter while out in the countryside. I am also really enjoying the faster work - I am starting to get a taste for some speed (although nice and controlled thank you very much!) which is quite a revelation for me after so many years spent only doing dressage!
I went down to the yard today, but the weather was horrible and there was a hunter trial going on. I decided to just give Echo a thorough groom and turn her out. She will have a day off tomorrow as well, but I don't think this will do her any harm. She still has quite bad diarrhoea - I can't really work out what is causing it - she is still eating normally, and seems perfectly happy in herself. She is moving fields on Tuesday, and the new field has better grass; hopefully this will sort the problem, otherwise I shall have to look into it a bit further. She has lost a little weight recently, probably due to the diarrhoea. She isn't thin by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't want her to lose any more, so I am going to start giving her an extra feed each day.