My one and only complaint about our crusher dust paddock is that Tonka will not eat any hay that has come in contact with the substrate. This is mostly a good thing (we really don't want a case of crusher dust colic on our hands) but it means that we are wasting more hay than before. At $6/bale I prefer to conserve as much as possible, so we will be looking for some mats to put under the feeder(s) over the next couple of days. Thick rubber stall mats are small (4X6 or 5X7) and expensive ($80 each) so we might try some other options first. I'm thinking of buying one of the 12X17 garage floor liners they sell at Costco and cutting it in half -- if it can stand up to cars it can stand up to horses, right?
Note the ruffled girth mark on Tonka's ribs. I had him out for another couple of hours this morning, and I'm happy to announce that I didn't dismount once. With my handy Carrot Stick (TM) I was able to coax him through all sorts of obstacles (even sheep). We went for a quite an outing, and we even had a little trot and canter on the grass. He is getting braver and more confident in me under saddle, and he plods along quite happily when there's nothing scary around. This morning he came trotting to the gate when I went to fetch him, so I take that as a good sign. And now for a completely gratuitous picture from our dog walk along the Deroche dike this evening. I still can't believe that we live here.