Pie and I managed to get in a short ride today. We've only had five other rides this month so far, and the last time we rode was over a week ago. I groomed and tacked in the barn - the alarm company (we have smoke/fire detectors in the barn) guy was there fixing something, and climbing up and down the ladder into the loft and walking around up there. Pie was wiggly, but stayed calm throughout - some horses find this very alarming (no pun intended).
There wasn't all that much we could do, because the trails are very icy, sometimes under a deceptive layer of snow, and the areas that aren't icy are covered with crusty snow - not enough of a crust to cut the horses' pasterns when they break through, but very crunchy and the footing didn't feel great to me or Pie. We did crunch around on the field behind the barn for a bit, including some cone work. Then we rode up to one of the pastures we're not using right now and crunched around in there for a bit. Pie didn't like the footing, so we turned back. Then we did some work in the aisle leading to the pastures - at least the part that wasn't too icy. There was a section about 50 feet long that had been trodden down where the footing wasn't bad. We walked and trotted, and halted, did turns on the haunches and threw in some backing. We worked on our transitions - their precision and softness.
It was great - Pie was outstanding. We were in the sidepull and I couldn't have asked for better responsiveness. His backing is getting much softer - he doesn't duck any more and softly steps back without rushing. His walk/trot and trot/halt transitions were really nice. (And when he backs in hand in the halter, he's now immediately soft - this is a big improvement despite the fact that we haven't worked much on this.) I'm so glad I rode - we made the best of our circumstances and got some decent work done.
I suspect we won't get any more rides in for a few days due to all that's going on over the holidays.
A very merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us to all of you, your horses, other pets and families!