Monday, January 14, 2013

A Good Time is Had by All

It's been very cold - this morning at the barn it was 12F, but with the wind the windchill was 0F. When Dawn and I were working, the temperature inside the arena was 23F - pretty darn chilly.  Dawn has been working exceptionally well.  This morning, since it was so cold and she'd had a day off, I put her on the lunge, but only very briefly.  I had relaxed trot and transitions from the first lap in both directions.  I didn't even bother with canter on the lunge.  Our ride was excellent, including some very nice canter work and lateral work.

When I put her back out, the poor thing just stood by the gate - the ground is very chopped up and is frozen solid, so is very hard for the horses to walk on.  I went out and slowly led her down to the water trough, where she drank and drank.  When I left, she was still standing there, reluctant to move.  She's a horse who's very careful about footing, and where she puts her feet.

This afternoon when I was at the barn again to ride Red and Pie, Dawn was taking a nap in her stall.  I was able to go in and sit with her and stroke her face - I'm always amazed that horses will trust us enough to allow things like that.

Red and I have been having good work sessions.  Today, due to the cold (it was up to 38F in the arena but felt colder to me), he was quite stiff when we started our trot work, after our usual 15 minutes of vigorous walk warm up.  He did get better as we went, and worked willingly, but the cold is hard on the joints.  At the end of our work, we did one lap on left lead canter - his easier lead, as it spares the left hind.  He seemed to really enjoy it.  He often suggests that he would prefer to start out his faster work in canter, and perhaps tomorrow I'll take him up on it - warming up at the canter may be easier for him than trotting, at least at first.  We might also use canter on the turns and trot on the straightaways until his joints are moving more freely, we'll see.

In fact, today all three horses and I worked in canter for at least a bit - the first time in a long time.

Pie and I have also been having great sessions - he's very forward and engaged and has been really been doing some lovely trot and canter work.  He's also very interactive and sweet when I'm in his stall and grooming - a big change from the withdrawn, crabby, sore horse I had before his treatment for Lyme disease.

It may be the depths of winter, but we're still having a good time!


  1. You're amazing - my hero. My body can't handle the cold we have - similar to your's. Of course we don't have an arena, but that's still cold.


    1. Ah yes, but at least with an indoor there's no wind . . .

    2. I agree about the wind making a difference -- and since it also makes my eyes water like crazy, I'll often choose to ride indoors if there is one. Interestingly, our indoor is attached to the horse barn by a hallway, and the body heat of 20 horses makes a huge difference. Our indoor is SO much warmer than the indoor where the little girl I nanny for takes her lessons. I didn't realize how much we really benefit from that arrangement until she had a couple of lessons in there on really cold days this winter...

  2. Our weather has been all over the place. As a horse person, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that big variations in a short period of time can be the worst! Good for you for working through the cold.

    What struck me most in this post was the comment about trust. Since I have a new horse, I'm realizing so many things that I almost took for granted at a base level. Now, when my new guy Armani lowers his face (huge deal for him) and enjoys a rub, it's a special moment indeed!


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