Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jogging in the Snow

I had a make-up lesson today because my regular Tuesday lesson was canceled due to cold temperatures. I met some new classmates today, Mel and Chris. This afternoon was gorgeous. Temperatures were around -8C, light snow and no wind. Instead of doing the lesson in the arena, LA decided we would hit the trails. My first winter trail ride of the season! Yipee! I ran back to my car and got my snow pants and heavier jacket.

LA rides Gem for me once a week. He's smart and she knows that he gets bored with repetition, so she mixes it up for him. Every once and a while she will take him on the trails. This serves two purposes; gives Gem a break from the usual routine and it also keeps him familiar with the trails so that there are no surprises when I take him out. LA took Gem out on a trail ride yesterday. It was his first time out this season, so I appreciated that he was already familiar with the snowy trails. LA said he was absolutely fearless. He did everything that she asked him to do and helped break some new trails. That's my boy!!

So, off we went today. As usual, I was a bit nervous as we started out, but I kept reminding myself to take a deep breath and relax into the saddle. LA asked that we keep some contact on the reins. There is a small family of deer on site and they occasionally walk out of the bushes, spooking horses.

Gem was fantastic. He walked through the forest with ease, occasionally grabbing at branches. You know after a heavy snow how everything seems muffled? That's what it was like. It was so quiet and peaceful. My collar, neck warmer and helmet cover managed to keep the snow-laden branches from depositing their load down my back as we walked through narrow paths. Mel and Chris were not always so lucky. :-)

Walking out of the forest.


My goodness, what furry ears you have!

When we came to the first first field after going through the forest area, LA suggested that we do a nice easy jog. Yep, my heart started to quicken, but I was game. LA started off with Mel behind her. I cued Gem and he bounced into a lovely lope...not what I asked for!! Easy! Easy! He responded immediately. Good boy! There were many opportunities to jog while we were out. As you know, under normal circumstances, I usually don't do anything faster than a walk, if I can help it. But, my new riding friends were used to going a bit faster and I didn't want to ruin their ride. They were my motivation. :-) So, every time an opportunity presented itself, I took it. And, I loved it! Gem was smooth and alert. He was enjoying himself. :-) I have to admit that I was quite pleased with myself for bumping it up a notch. It actually did a lot for my confidence.

I had a fantastic ride. Gem was so good and it's rides like the one I had this afternoon where I can feel how much better we are becoming at trusting each other. Mel and Chris were a bit cold by the time we were heading back in. I was grateful that I was wearing my heavier jacket and my snow pants. Last year about this time, I was a bit traumatized looking for winter wear. But, I persevered and have found an ensemble that works. OK, OK....it may not work as a flattering fashion statement, but it works from a warmth perspective. :-)



What was I thinking....?

19 comments:

  1. I think you look fine and as long as you're warm enough that's all that matters.

    You and Gem sound like you had a wonderful ride, I'm so happy for both of you. It's a great confidence builder and I give you a lot of credit for getting out in this cold. Wish I could be as motivated as you are.

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  2. Girl, please. You look warm and you match your horse! What else is there to do? lol Glad you had a great ride :)

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  3. dang, you guys look like you had a good time... must be at least 30 years since the last time i rode in snow....

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  4. GHM - Thanks! It was wonderful just to be outside after being cooped up the last week or so due to cold temperatures.

    Sue - Thanks for stopping by. Is it awful that I coordinate my outfits to match my horse?? lol Thanks for noticing. ;-)

    LW - I think winter riding is my favourite. Everything looks so pristine. Hope you haven't had too much snow your way.

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  5. Oh wow, looks like you had a blast!

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  6. This made me want to take a trail ride in the snow. Glad you were prepared and warm. I hate being cold. It's foggy here today and we've had no snow to speak of the entire winter.

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  7. Sheesh, I think you two look just great. I also had my first ever snow trail ride earlier this winter, and it was a good confidence challenge for me. I loved it.

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  8. JPS - I did!

    Wilsonc - I hate being cold too. Riding has taught me how to dress for the weather.

    Muddy K - Good for you, getting out in the snow! Trail riding in the winter is a big confidence booster for me.

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  9. I think you look great too, but furthermore I think you are a trooper for riding in that weather! If it's under 36 I usually just hide in my house, hah.

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  10. Hi Lauren - Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments! Your Teaspoon is one beautiful horse!

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  11. So jealous of your trail ride!! Congratulations on your new found speed on the trail!!!

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  12. Thanks, MP! I was really quite proud of myself. :-)

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  13. YEEHAA! Gem's going to make a trail rider out of you yet :)

    How cool that LA instills trail riding into her lessons, good trail experiences helps so much with balance and overall security in the saddle- everybody should do it.

    PS- I think that picture of you and Gem is hysterical. It's a full body shot but I still have no idea what you look like ;)

    PPS- does your clothing match his on purpose?

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  14. Hi Shannon! I am getting better at just going with it and trusting Gem. Isn't it great that LA recognizes that students, human and equine, get bored with lesson routine?? I hear you about trail riding improving balance....I was actually a little stiff on Sunday. Re PS - Then my Michelin Man impersonation has worked perfectly! :-) Re PPS - You know it does. ;-)

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  15. I AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!! I would love to ride through woods in snow! It looks so beuatiful!

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  16. Nina, It's wonderful. You are welcome to come up any time!!

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  17. I agree with Sue! You look warm, and it sounds like you two had a wonderful time together. That's the best!

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  18. Hi Detroit Dog - I really enjoy my time with him. :-) Hope you and your beautiful greyhounds are bundled up for the upcoming weather!

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  19. Wow your giving me shivers just looking at the pictures!

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