Jen came while I was at work and took Sonny out. She put the Easyboots on his hind feet, and reasoning that if her bum was sore from the saddle his back would probably be a bit uncomfortable too, she decided not to ride. Instead she brought out the black harness and set him up for driving. He accepted all this until she put the crupper under his tail, which made him tuck his bottom in. Graham came and put a hand on his rein and talked to him, and he settled down again all right even with Jen clanking the chains about and fiddling with the harness. She brought out David's ex cart and put it on him - he fretted and fidgeted a bit, but when she stayed relaxed and told him not to be such a fairy, he settled down. He pretended to fuss about going down the yard, when the breeching came into play, but again soon settled into his work. He was a bit lazy going out - hardly surprising after his quite long ride yesterday - but stood well for her to pretend to adjust harness and re-fasten one of his boots at the Selsmire substation layby. Jen reported that he needed "a lot more rein" in the carriage, as he definitely missed the leg contact and "wobbled about" a lot more.
On the way home he trotted steadily past the young ponies and walked down the hill into the village despite there being a large sheep-wagon coming down the hill after him. Jen let him have 30 minutes in the paddock with lots of fly spray but put him back indoors after that because despite the spray, the flies were biting.
I took Ruby out in the afternoon - which was one of those annoying drives that start out badly, not because of anything Ruby did, but because we had only just left the yard when we encountered a large Manitou loader towing a large flat farm trailer. There was really nowhere to go but home, and although our road is very narrow, poor Ruby did her best to screw the carriage round in its own length, and very ugly it all was too, with the wheels scraping the wall behind me and Ruby trying not to get the shafts hooked up in the sheep netting on the wall in front of her. We got turned round and went back into the yard to let the loader go by, and then I had to take Ruby out of the carriage and spend the next fifteen minutes with a mallet and cold chisel whacking twelve inches of solid rubber tyre back into its channel on the inside wheel. F***ing road chippings, f***ing farm equipment, grrr grrr grrr.
I finally got the carriage hooked up again and took Ruby along the road for a couple of miles, hoping the tyre would continue to settle into the channel as we went. Eventually I found a nice, shady, grassy roadside with no biting flies, where she could graze for ten minutes and I could recover my lost temper. She trotted home from there in good style, and I was pleased that when we met the Manitou loader again the young driver pulled in where there was plenty of room, and let US go by in return for our gesture an hour earlier.
Ruby didn't appreciate me giving her a wash when we got home, but a scoop of mix, a clean shavings bed (thanks to Jen in the morning who had tidied up my hasty picking-over) and a slab of soaked hay, soon made her forget her grumpyness. Sonny said he'd rather like some of Ruby's mix, too, but as he still had half a haynet left, I told him he'd have to make do with a clean bed. And so did Ruby.
The tyre isn't right but I think it will hold okay.