Cold Feet

I braved the 18 degree temps yesterday to go out and ride the mare. It was extremely difficult to get anything done when it’s this bitter. And even though my trainer is not convinced, I don’t think O feels very good. She’s a little weird behind, not unsound, almost sore like? I don’t like it, but at the same time I’m trying to not let it get under my skin. I really do think it just has to do with the fact it’s been under freezing for almost 2 full weeks now, and she’s had crazy amounts of ice and snow packed in her feet lately. That cannot be comfortable.

Anyway, so besides that it was an okay ride. I was distracted by her confusing hind end, and spent a lot of time stressing over that, rather than working on my homework. I did do lots of passes by the mirrors try make sure I was leaning further back and engaging my core. I’m still kind of sore, so that’s a good sign.

Since there is no getting away from the snow and ice until later this week, we decided to use it as a backdrop. I haven’t gotten them all organized and edited…but I’ll leave a teaser. πŸ™‚

Snow pony.

Snow pony.

It’s still going! Equestrian at Hart’s Giveaway for Higher Standards Soap!

Frozen

Lake is all frozen over!

Lake is all frozen over!

Brrrrrrr…………

Rain + Freezing Temperatures = not much riding.

I am happy to report that O’s repaired blanket seems to be holding up super well so far!

Toasty warm pony.

Toasty warm pony.

I went out to check on her today and shovel some treats down her throat, pick her feet, and make sure she is still happy.

Pony nosing for treats!

Pony nosing for treats!


Other horses close in on the treats...see angry O in the background.

Other horses close in on the treats…see angry O in the background.

She was happily munching on a bale of hay in the big field, but was glad to cuddled by me when I got out there.

Cute girl.  Look close and see she was helping hold my gloves for me while I picked out her feet.

Cute girl. Look close and see she was helping hold my gloves for me while I picked out her feet.

Anyway, it’s supposed to thaw out a bit more on Tuesday, so hopefully riding then. Until then we are battening down the hatches and stay off the icey roads.

16 Degrees

horses-nuzzle-winter
Living in the middle of the US, we get some frickin’ cold weather in the winter. Usually accompanied with slick, nasty, ice storms. Yay us. When O and I had our fabulous ride this week it was in the high 40’s with little to no wind. The next day we get this horrible northern wind and the temp plumets to highs in the teens.

Urgh.

Because of this sadly predictable weather we have a rule where I ride. If it is below 25, or the wind chill/”feels like” temperature is below 25 no one should be riding unless it is otherwise cleared by one of the trainers (rings are safe, someone is around, etc.). So O only got 3 of her planned workouts this week, but it really can’t be avoided.
alvie-snow

In the spirit of living in a place where the winters can be really hard on your riding, I thought I’d post some tips about winter riding to keep in mind!

1. Layers are the best way to handle riding in the winter, as you can take off and put on with ease. Since I ride in a helmets only environment I tend to stick to quarter zips, or zip up jackets and coats so I don’t have to take off my helmet a dozen times.

2. If you horse is used to being stalled or wearing a cozy blanket, be kind and throw on a quarter sheet or rug while you warm up. It’s just another way to ease them into the workout. And I think they look cool.

3. Be wary of many winter boots, they can be especially large around the toe and could wedge in your stirrups. Dangerous stuff.

4. If you have to retrieve your horse from outside consider taking a hoofpick with you! O and her buddies have to cross a concrete path, and lots of potentially icy spots, and if her feet are packed with snow it can be very slick for horses. I always have one just in case.
WinterHoofs
5. Warm up your bit as much as you can! You can check out the Diary of an Overanxious Horse Owner who has this great bit warmer pattern you can get off of Etsy.

6. I think it goes without saying, but make sure to adjust your stretches, warm-up, and cool down times!
winter-riding
I know many of you probably have tried and true dealing with winter tricks, but I thought I’d just throw mine out there! Feel free to share any of yours here! I’d love to hear!

Mini vs. O

I have a feeling that over the next 50ish days my reports of “O trotted great today” and “O was kind of off today” are going to get a bit old. Hence I am going to spice up my weekend report from Miss O, with a non-undersaddle standoff. O and the mini that lives at our stable are buddies. The nuzzle, nip, or generally just ignore each other. It works. However, as the temperature dropped crazy fast this year (40 degrees overnight) many of the horses, including said mini, didn’t cope well with the change.

Solution 1: Put it in the office. It only lasted for a few minutes until trainer arrived to find a mini standing at her desk eating cheese-its wearing a random horses cooler.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Solution 2: Drape mini in the smallest horse sheet we can find and send it outside to bask in the sun. This solution definitely went over a lot better.

Much warmer now.

Much warmer now.

O was a good girl for our ride, and although she was a little off, the best part was definitely while we were hand grazing afterwards. O was maybe 40 feet away from the mini’s outdoor turnout when she caught sight of the draped, and now very cozy mini. My quiet, level-headed mare then transformed into a stallion-esque, blowing, snorting, and foaming hot mess. I probably didn’t help because instead of trying to reason with her, I took the opportunity to snap some pictures.

OMG.  WHAT IS THAT?!

OMG. WHAT IS THAT?!

Don't worry.  I won't let it get us!!

Don’t worry. I won’t let it get us!! (commences pawing)

It is definitely coming closer Mom!

It is definitely coming closer Mom!

Probably a horrible mom for laughing and taking pictures, but it was adorable. Mini never blinked an eye. Apparently my horse isn’t very threatening.