Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dawn and I are More Winterproof

Today Dawn and I tested out the new quarter sheet - it was 13F when I got to the barn, and probably not that much warmer than that in the indoor.  Things were a bit out of the ordinary when I got to the barn.  Yesterday, three of the mares (not Dawn) had gotten trapped at bring-in time on the far side of a ice-banked small stream of water that had formed in the pasture, and the staff had a hard time bringing them in.  Ice conditions in that pasture were pretty bad.  So the barn owner prudently decided to keep the mares in until the guys could spread more manure for traction in the mare pasture.

So, when I got to the barn, I found Dawn in a paddock - the guys had nicely put her in there with some hay since otherwise she would have been all alone in the little barn, where all the other 10 horses are geldings and were already out.  She was a little bit up due to the circumstances, and also due to the other mares calling from their stalls.

But we just went about our usual routine of grooming and tacking.  She was very alert, but also moderately snuggly, which I took as a good sign, and there was lots of yawning, which meant she was releasing some tension.  I put the quarter sheet on while she was still on cross ties and she seemed to have no issue with it.  In the picture I linked to in my post yesterday, the rider has the quarter sheet across her legs.  I elected to instead put it under my stirrup leathers so I would have my legs on top of it - that way if I were to come off, I wouldn't have a piece of equipment attached to my body - seemed like a better plan.  I also don't grip at all with my legs, so it didn't matter that the polar fleece was slippery against the sides of the saddle.

Dawn and I had a wonderful ride - our second in and row and only the fourth of the month.  She was quite forward, but very responsive and soft and settled to work well.  We did a lot of long trotting since the horses aren't getting to move around much in the pastures due to the footing.  At the end of our ride, we did some lovely shortening/lengthening work at the trot.

So far this year, I haven't ridden when outside temperatures are lower than 20 - now I think we're good to go down to 10, with the quarter sheet for Dawn.  The boys are more cold hardy than Dawn, and I usually ride them in the afternoon when it's a bit warmer, but they're also fine down to 10 without a quarter sheet so that's what I'll do. If we want to get any riding done, we have to be a bit more weatherproof . . .

5 comments:

  1. Good move with the sheet under your leg instead of over it. When I've used one, I actually have put it under the saddle--but I do ride English, so that may make a difference.

    Dawn has really settled down nicely for you. As I recall, when you first started riding her she was a bit of a challenge--quick, sharp, a little nervous. What a wonderful difference all you careful, thoughtful training has accomplished.

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  2. Jean - I do ride Dawn English, with a dressage saddle. I prefer to put the sheet under the saddle too, but this one has a raised edge that would be uncomfortable under the saddle.

    I think it's actually more that I've settled down for Dawn, which means she can be more settled with me . . .

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  3. I agree Dawn has really settled since you started with her. She seems like a real pleasure to ride and is enjoying her work with you.

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  4. Interesting -- I've been tempted to try a quarter sheet, but I'd be concerned about the slipperiness. Perhaps I'll have to look for one without a raised edge, as I think I'd prefer it under the saddle, too.

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  5. Some of my endurance friends use what they call "rump rugs." Usually water and wind proof, they are tied to the back of the saddle, whether English or western (or endurance), and can be drawn up and tied or velcroed in a bundle (think messy bedroll) when conditions or horse warm up.
    You HAVE come such a long way with Dawn!

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