Monday, January 21, 2013

Riding in the Cold

Today was cold - the high was about 10F (-12C), with wind chills as low as -13F (-25C).  I kept my horses in for the day, except for brief paddock expeditions for Pie and Red - Dawn, who gets cold easily, was happy to stay in, although she nickered at me every time I came into the barn.  Dawn and I had two very nice short lungeing sessions during the day - she did all three gaits very nicely, and there was no scooting or bucking.  It was good that she got to stretch her legs, and she seemed happy about it.

After the boys had been out in adjacent paddocks for a while, I brought them back in.  As I was leading them together through the arena, they were distracted by the guy watering the arena with a hose and sprayer, and then someone suddenly opened the big overhead door.  Both boys bolted, but being the good horses they are and respectful of my space, they went past me and pivoted around so they were facing me.  We just went on, although Red was worried enough - he really wanted to head to his stall - that we had to make a few turns and circles together before we left the arena.  I was really pleased with both boys - I don't mind if they spook, but it's great that they kept track of where I was and didn't mow me down.

By the time I got to the barn in the afternoon, the temperature was falling and it was about 20F (-7C) in the indoor.  Since Red and Pie hadn't been turned out, I wanted to give them both a chance to stretch their legs, so we rode.  Red had been very fussed about the change of routine - he's big on a regular routine, even more than my other horses - but we saddled up and off we went.  He was bursting with energy, but managed to stand still for mounting - he was practically quivering - and off we went.  He was so forward at the walk that we cut our usual warm up time to 10 minutes from 15, and off we went on left lead canter.  He was very, very good.  There was no head-shaking or bucking, but just wonderful, forward, energetic canter.  We did that for a while, and then did a fair amount of trot work, mixed in with more cantering.  He couldn't have been better - he was still jazzed up by the time we were done, but that was enough for his leg for today.  He has come so far - it's a delight.

Pie and I also had a very nice session - lots of good trot and canter, with good softness and bend.  Even though the roof was buzzing from the wind and the doors banging, he was good as gold.  We didn't work long, probably about 25 minutes - I was getting cold - but that was good enough to stretch his legs for the day.

Tomorrow's supposed to be even colder - the low tonight is expected to be -4F (-20C) with a high of 6F (-14C) tomorrow, with gusty winds and wind chills as low as -24F (-31C).  I'll be keeping my horses in again tomorrow - the boys may make a brief expedition to the paddocks during stall cleaning, but if it's too cold, I'll just tie them in the arena or put them on cross ties.  It may even be too cold to ride in the indoor, but we'll see . . .

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