Haay girl, do you work out?
In the past few weeks, cold temperatures have rushed in like cattle through a corral chute.  Heavy blankets were hastily brushed down and thrown on.  Fans were quickly turned off and the barn is now eerily silent at night, without the whooshing of over a hundred fans spinning endlessly in the heat.  But contrary to his past behavior and everything I saw in him this spring and summer, ever so quietly, gently, and softly, Ryon has eased into winter weather.  Perhaps it's finally getting past his 9th birthday and emerging into adulthood, but our boy has grown up - no longer spooking at every dark corner and throwing a tantrum when his extra large personal space bubble is intruded upon.  He's still a character, don't be fooled.  He is still impatient in the cross ties and when waiting in the arena and will kindly remind you with a nudge when he thinks we're done riding for the evening.  But things rarely phase him now and his confidence has increased dramatically.

Ryon's also been jumping like he's been born to do it.  I honestly think he's been waiting his whole career to be challenged to this level.  The more complicated the course, the higher the jumps, the more technical the turns, the more he likes it and enjoys himself.  He pulls on the reins with his mouth as if to say, "Mom, just sit back and relax and let me figure it out.  I got this."  He's terribly independent like that.  Don't fuss at him, don't micromanage.  Just breathe and sink into your heels.  My trainer paid him the kindest compliment tonight, saying that he is the most progressed horse that she works with and has come the longest way with his training.

Our "accidental" cloven hoof
If you're friends with me on Instagram, you'll also have noticed the steampunkish (thanks for ther term Amy) contraption on his back hoof.  Ryon's had a half crack in that hoof for forever and as we've signed on to a new farrier, he's suggested a different way at attempting to fixing it.  It works similar to braces, where Warren can tighten or loosen the device as Ryon's hoof grows out, to bring the hoof walls closer together.  It doesn't hurt him and he doesn't seem to notice it, but only time will tell if it truly works or not.

Our boy is growing up (sniff sniff) and it's really just been over the past few months.  Let's hope this good behavior isn't a fluke and he improves to the point where I can take him out in polite company.  So long as they don't mind getting licked and slobbered on.