And church was over. I went on home, grabbed a snack I called "lunch", and changed clothes.
Jeans that were too long, teeshirt, and my rubber boots. There were (and still are) puddles all over my place. This was the perfect time to fetch my little trail-horse, and get in the goof-off session we were so needing.
Saddled him up Western, then grabbed his french link bit, figuring if I needed any emergency stops, he'd be a little less unhappy with a loose ring bit.
We took off down the road to the right, and as I approached the mailboxes, I said to him, "Well, buddy, where do you want to go? Left or right?" He meandered towards the right, so we kept on walking. This is the farthest I've gone to the right away from home down the paved road on my own. We rode past two pastures of horses, one "spooky spot", and as we approached a cow pasture with a whirring windmill well, Romeo's ears perked up. He paused, pooped, took about another four feet work of walking steps, and paused again. I looked at my watch. 40 minutes already?! Seriously?! Goodness,, I need to get him back home, or we'll both be too tired to cross the water-ditches getting home.
He went through the water ditches, through muddy puddles (depth unknown to him until he realized he was in it over his ankles), passed other horses, a few yarping dogs, over the gravel road, on the asphalt (after being reminded on foot that black asphalt hole-patch does NOT eat ponies LOL), through some tree-limb cluttered pathways, and for nearly an hour. No hard warmup, just a brief lunge at trot to tighten up the saddle girth. One spooky spot that was almost nothing (caught me off guard in fact).
When I got all his tack off, I turned him loose with cookies & praise. Later I remembered we had walked on a lot of gravel, barefoot. I grabbed my hoofpick and went a pickin'. Imagine my surprsie when I found his frogs longer than the rest of his hoof. The shoe-nails from his last shoe job have led to hoof wall being all tore up & chipped. As it turns out, there was only one ittie bittie rock to remove, which I took care of. I was a bit surprised to see that, on each step he took, his frog hit first. I ran my brain on wondering if there was something I should do for him. Should I call Mr Dale to come fix? Should I switch him & Ransom, move dirt around in Ransom's stall, wrap Romeo's hooves & let him stand in the driest spots I have? Should I grab my two hoof boots & force those on? So, I did the next best thing. I called Mrs. Mom, in a bit of a panic. Um, I know it's Sunday afternoon, but can you help me?! I'm a little bit worried I just put Romeo through a mess and might've hurt him. She quickly reassured me that, if he hadn't been taking lame steps, despite the terrain we worked over, he was fine. No need to call Mr Dale out, nothing needs doing at all.
So I will keep a watchful eye on him for a few days, try to find a decently dry spot to work on a brief lunge before supper every day and watch for signs of sore feets. He's a steady boy, and I'd hate for him to be uncomfortable. Otherwise, talk about super hooves! That hard work, on frogs and heels, and he was incredibly sound the entire ride. Good Boy!