Monday, February 20, 2012

Winter Can Stay....

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy. My mother hosted a luncheon/reception for over 100 people for my father (he did not want a funeral, he wanted a party) the beginning of the month, which I coordinated for her. Funny stories, lots of food and an open bar - a good combination! Our yearly audit at work started February 6th and finished on the 17th. On Saturday, Jean and I went to get Stu! Whew.

Stu's arrival was pretty much uneventful. For a horse that has been living the life of Riley for the last year out in the fields, he loaded like a dream, was in the trailer for 1.5 hours without incident, and came off the trailer easily! There was quite a welcoming committee to greet Stu when he came off the trailer. It's quite a novelty to have a Clyde at a Quarter Horse barn. :-) Jean walked him around the immediate property and actually through the old barn. Gem had just been brought in and Stu and Gem had an opportunity to touch noses and sniff each other. It was cool to compare them side by side. Gem is no longer the largest horse in the barn, but in reality Stu is not that much taller than Gem. Gem's head looks quite refined compared to Stu's and of course Stu's feet are twice the size of Gem's.

Stu's feet will need a bit of work. He's got great frogs, but has hoof cracks. Jean is keeping him barefoot and it will take a few trims, coupled with regular maintenance, to improve his foot health and get rid of the cracks. Timing is actually great, because Jean won't be riding him for a few months so it will give Stu's feet a chance to get into tip top shape.

The weather here has been pretty mild and I have been able to get a couple of trail rides in and a lesson. After lesson last week, I am happy to report that LA is pleased with my confidence level and how I am responding quicker to correcting Gem when he starts giving me the business. I appreciated her comment as I was actually feeling a bit "behind" in lesson compared to my other classmates, due to the fact that I was not in lesson very often over the last few months. I believe this subtle change in my attitude and confidence is directly linked to the fact that I have been trail riding. I am getting more and more comfortable being out in the open and my heart isn't in my throat for the whole ride any more. :-)

These pictures were taken two weeks ago. On this particular day, it was -20C so it was too cold to ride but it was gloriously sunny. After grooming my beautiful boy, I ventured down a couple of the trails.

I was greeted by this mare as I started out. She was making her way to the watering tub. She is expecting and due in March. She stays out 24/7. Of course, LA checks on her (and the herd) a couple of times a day.

The snow is deep, so our rides are pretty much confined to the perimeter of the fields. We actually follow the paths made by the herd,

Here's some of the herd chowing down. The forest provides shelter for the herd. There are great trails in the forested area and it's one of my favourite places when we go out. can be quite cozy in there....

Being out on the trails this time of year is beautiful. The crunch of snow under horses' hooves coupled with conversation is wonderful. I feel so relaxed and satisfied afterwards. With the recent mild weather, there is now a crispy layer of ice on top of soft snow. The odd time I deviated from the path to come up beside DH's mom, Gem sank up to his knees. For the time being, we have to ride single file. I did have a couple of heart-in-my-throat instances yesterday when I went out. The milder weather has caused pools of water on some of the paths, which freezes overnight. To me they look like size of skating rinks but in reality they are just large puddles. DH's mom just told me to sit square to maintain balance, loosen my reins and let Gem navigate where he wanted to go. He put his head down to sniff and see where he was going. There were a couple of times that he slipped every so slightly, but we did it. Another confidence booster!! My horse is amazing.

Spring is in the air. Yesterday it was -5C and sunny. I actually started to undo some of my clothing because I was too warm! I rode without gloves. Strangely, in a way I hope the snow stays a little longer! Yikes! Did I just say that??? Once we have a big melt, everything will turn to mud and we won't be able to ride out on the trails. Arena riding just doesn't have the same appeal to me any longer.....did I just say that??!! :-)

Life Lesson: Always have cab fare tucked in your wallet. To this day, I always have a $20 bill folded away in my wallet…probably won’t get me far by today’s standards, but it does provide a certain amount of comfort knowing that it’s there.