Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Every Winter Day Should Be Like This

This morning when I got back from doing morning chores at the barn, our local weather station (maintained by a neighbor and available online) said that it was 12F with a windchill of 4F, but it didn't really feel that cold to me.  It's bright and sunny, with very little wind, and some frost on every surface.  When I was cleaning Pie's paddock this morning, which took a while (that boy is sure a producer!), I was enjoying watching the horses in their dry lots.  Pie, Scout and Fritz had a good three-way game of face tag going - I don't think I've every seen three horses play this game at once.  Then Pie spend some time harassing Fred - he herds Fred around at a walk and bites his blanket (bad Pie!).

Later in the morning I went to the barn to ride.  The temperature was up to 18F with a wind chill of 10F - this is about the coldest it can be that I will ride.  I took my camera with me to the barn, hoping to get a few pictures.  Night the barn cat followed me out to the dry lots:


Dawn, as usual, wondered what I was up to:


Sugar was dark and furry and enjoying the new round bale:


Misty was taking a drink - it was cold enough that the water vapor was frosting up the top edges of the tank:


Fritz had been having a drink, too:


I got a picture of Pie from behind, showing his lovely thick tail (that's Fred on the left):


Pie didn't know I was there, and briefly spooked when he heard the clicking of the camera:






Then Pie and Scout started coming up to me:






Scout veered off to investigate Night:





Pie was more interested in coming up to me and saying hi:






I collected him, and we groomed, tacked and mounted up up.  We took a nice, long, solo trail ride.  We did some trotting, although not as much as we'd have liked since even the grassy edges of the trail were frozen hard.  We were out for about an hour.  It was one of the best trail rides we've had.  Pie was forward but pretty relaxed, and came back to the barn with his head and neck nice and low.  We did our entire ride on a completely loose rein in our sidepull. He's so sensitive, and "unspoiled" in a training sense, that all I have to do to ask him to slow is to ever so slightly, for just a fraction of a second, stop following the motion with my seat.  That's all - I've never taught him this and I doubt he was taught this by his prior owner, but just the slight blocking of his forward motion by my seat produces an immediate response - it's that intuitive for him.  Come to think of it, he'd probably be a good candidate to ride in a cordero, or even bridleless, since he really doesn't require reins for stopping even at this young age, and probably would steer pretty well just off balance, and allowing/blocking with leg and seat after very little work.

When we got back to the barn we did a little bit of trot work - the ground was too hard to do much - and softening work at the walk on the grassy area behind the barn.  He's also picking up the softening work very quickly, and without that period of having to learn to unbrace that many horses go through - he doesn't brace because he's never been taught to.  He's also quickly getting over the slowing/stopping that many horses do when first learning to soften - he is one of those rare horses that hasn't had his face/headset messed with and rein aids don't mean slow/stop to him as much as they do many horses.

Good Pie! All winter days should be so fine!

25 comments:

  1. Great pictures, especially the ones of Scout checking out the cat. I'm glad your ride went so well. By the time I'm riding again it should be much warmer.

    Dan

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  2. Pie looks great!
    Sounds like you had an awesome ride :)

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  3. Who could ask for more. It is bright and sunny here today too.

    Good Pie for sure!

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  4. Sounds like a perfectly lovely day :)
    Pie is adorable (as well as being such a good boy)!

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  5. Still sounds cold to me...but without much wind, perhaps not as bad.

    Some horses just have that "instinct" to want to stay under you. My Toby is like that--Tucker not so much. They are very responsive to weight aids because of it. Personally, I think it's wonderful to train a horse like that--lucky you for finding one.

    As you say, Good Pie.

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  6. Sounds like a lovely ride! It's nice to get to know the horses through every session with them. Scout sure is a cutie, too :)

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  7. Sounds like training is just going to fall into place for Pie. That's pretty cool. Getting a horse like that doesn't happen often.

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  8. That sounds wonderful. The pictures are really delightful. Isn't it funny how undetrred by the cold the horses are? I also have a soft spot in my heart ofr little black cats. If i saw Night, I;d be very tempted to put him in my purse and carry him home!

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  9. I loved the pictures! Everyone looks so happy, even in the freezing cold! :)

    My mare is very responsive as well, but in the opposite way... very little is needed to get her to go, but slowing down is a whole different story!

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  10. Aw that Pie sure is a very special boy. It is seen through his handsome photos :)
    Do you blanket him at all? I may try turning Laz out 24/7 w/ no blanket next year.......eeks! I know Juliette has a lot of great info on that topic too :)

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  11. That's sweet that Pie came to visit, even though he knows he may get haltered and rode. That's always a good sign, I think.

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  12. Sounds like Pie has made friends and adjusted to his new life just fine.

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  13. I just love your Pie. He is the perfect boy. He is very smart - sensing and stopping.
    Scout is cute looking at Night.
    I am glad you are commenting about Pie being a "good producer" in the pasture. My mother at home is kindly handling the manure removal and has much to say about the daily amounts!!!!

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  14. I rode last night and it was 39 degrees and I was whining. Reading your blog is going to make me cowgirl up!

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  15. Love the photos and love your Pie! Sounds like a ride with Pie isn't so much training as it is dancing. That's the best!

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  16. You made a wise choice when you got Pie. I'm so happy for both of you! May 2011 be full of these kind of good rides.

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  17. What a cute series of photos! I love the soft, curious faces. I also love that Pie spooks, then looks sheepish when he realizes it's just you. Thoroughly enjoyed this entry.

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  18. Cute pictures, especially of Pie spooking at the clicking camera.

    When I first brought Apache home, she would get worried and concerned about the camera, and even startle as I pushed the button, but after a year now of being exposed to me always clicking my camera around her, she's not only unbothered by it, but is finally starting to realize that I'm doing something "important" which requires her to stand still and pose. lol!

    With Baby Doll, it took a lot less time for her to realize this, probably because she had been in the show ring and had been photographed many times. She was a lot of fun to photograph, but Apache is getting there, too. Her poses tend to be more goofy than beautiful, though. lol!

    That Pie is one amazing horse. His previous owner started him well and trained him with true skill, getting Pie ready for a great future.
    Already he is proving to be worth his weight in gold. You are lucky to have found your handsome boy :)

    ~Lisa

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  19. That spook and then say hi reaction always makes me laugh.

    "What was that?"
    "Oh, it's you"
    "Well how you doin?"

    Silly horses.

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  20. Kristen - sorry it took me a bit to get around to answering your question. I think blanketing really depends on the horse - some are much more cold-hardy than others, and it also depends on whether they have shelter from the wind and elements. I only blanket Pie at night if it's very windy or the wind chills will be below zero. He's very cold hardy.

    Dawn (TB) on the other hand never gets a big coat and is medium blanketed unless its in the 30s, and wears a heavier blanket if it's below 15, and a fleece liner if temperatures are in the single digits or it's very windy.

    I'd judge based on the horse's comfort - it'll take some experimenting.

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  21. Kristen - sorry it took me a bit to get around to answering your question. I think blanketing really depends on the horse - some are much more cold-hardy than others, and it also depends on whether they have shelter from the wind and elements. I only blanket Pie at night if it's very windy or the wind chills will be below zero. He's very cold hardy.

    Dawn (TB) on the other hand never gets a big coat and is medium blanketed unless its in the 30s, and wears a heavier blanket if it's below 15, and a fleece liner if temperatures are in the single digits or it's very windy.

    I'd judge based on the horse's comfort - it'll take some experimenting.

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  22. Kate, What lovely pictures of Pie! He is very photogenic. You had such a great ride with him as well- wonderful! He seems to be a good learner, and nicely responsive. What a great time in the midst of winter!

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  23. sounds like a great day.

    I love the sequence of pictures of Pie spooking, turning and then stopping.

    also love the ones of Scout going after the cat!!

    Mary

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