Friday, January 25, 2013

Couch Time


I am a keener when it comes to spending time with Gem.  I don't consider myself a fair-weather rider; I go out to the barn if it's hot, humid, raining, snowing, cold.  Perhaps it's because I only see him twice a week, three if I am lucky.  The amount of time I will be spending with him will increase in a few years, but with my current family obligations and work, along with social activities, twice a week at the barn is what I can manage and still maintain a sane balance to my life.

Yes, I admit that I look with envy at some of the riders that I started out with who have increased their riding skills and confidence in leaps and bounds, to the point where all of them can go out on the trails confidently and ALONE.  I have to remind myself that these riders are at the barn 4-6 times a week.  It is going to take a bit longer for me to catch up.  :-) 

The week of January 14th brought some weird precipitation activity; snow, freezing rain, slushy snow with temperatures around the +2C to -5C mark.  Sunday before last, we ended up riding in the arena because the trails were very icy.  By the time we finished up, warmer temperatures had created a very thick fog, rising off the fields of deep snow, and I was very nervous coming back from the barn.  Visibility was probably only 5 car lengths ahead at times.  Making a left turn was nerve-racking due to the lack of visibility of oncoming traffic.  I crossed my fingers as I pulled out......

I did manage to ride in the arena last Friday.  DH's Mom and a couple of other boarders braved the -10C temps after work to practice side passing over a pole.  I am still having issues with my one-handed steering and with relaxing the tension on the reins.   Another exercise we did was riding with our eyes closed.  I know!  Sort of scary.  You start at one end of the arena and walk down the middle to the other end, with your eyes closed.  You are not allowed to steer.  It really makes you aware of how balanced you are in the saddle and the goal is to walk or jog a straight line.  We took turns.  Gem and I excelled at this!  :-)   

On Sunday, it snowed, and snowed.  Road conditions were bad (they closed portions of Hwy 401), so instead of going to the barn, I snuggled on the couch in front of the TV with my dogs.    Monday brought us the deep freeze.  With a high of -18C on Tuesday, our lesson was cancelled. 

I considered going out to the barn on Tuesday in spite of the lesson being cancelled.  I thought I would just give Gem a little groom and visit.  But, as I left the office and walked across the parking lot, the skin on my legs started to freeze through my pants and I lost the feeling in my gloved fingertips.  I could hardly breath.  I am a keener, but.....I reconsidered and went home and snuggled on the couch with the dogs....again. 

The deep freeze has continued all week.  We have been hovering around a high of  -20C (-4F)....without the windchill factored in.  Brrrrr!   Wednesday evening was -30C.  Frostbite warnings have been the norm.  No earrings or rings for me this week; the frozen metal makes my skin and bones ache when outside in these temperatures.  I have been wearing my "SSG 10 Below" riding gloves when outside; they are much warmer than my regular gloves.   Except for Book Club, I have been on the couch in front of the TV snuggling with my dogs every evening this week.  Tonight, temperatures will only dip to -22C (it's getting warmer!!!) so the couch routine will continue, much to the delight of the three snuggliest dogs in Ontario!   Sunday's temperatures are looking a bit better, though.  A high of -12C is forecasted.  Warm enough for me to ride my boy!  Yipee!  I have missed seeing Gem so much.

Hope you are getting time with your horses in spite of winter.  Stay warm and have a great weekend!!

16 comments:

  1. Considering how mild the last two winters were, I don't think we can complain too much about the cold snap we've gotten this week- that still leaves us room to complain a little ;)

    I say this as someone who is also guilty of doing the same thing: Try not to measure your progress by someone else's. Be happy with the progress that YOU have made :)

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    1. "Be happy with the progress that YOU have made." Thanks for the reminder. :-)

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  2. Did the same thing here! Besides its way too cold for the horses to get hot and sweaty working :)

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  3. Brrr! Staying home with the pups makes sense to me!

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    1. They love having me home, too. :-)

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  4. I've been doing the same as you. My dogs are too big for the couch though, so they lay in front and keep my feet warm. When you finally get to see Gem I'm sure he will be happy to see you too! Stay warm.

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    1. It has been bitter here. I did see him on Sunday and we had a nice easy ride in the arena. He was well behaved for someone that was actually inside for two days because of the cold.

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  5. I think every Canadian has been staying snuggled up on the couch lately. I know I have, and you guys in the east have been even colder than we've been. I always figure that if I'm too cold to enjoy doing anything with the horses, then they won't enjoy me bothering them.

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    1. You are absolutely right. If we aren't comfortable, why would we assume that they are.

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  6. Did you say minus 30C? *gulp* You guys should send a memo so that the people of Africa can start praying for those poor suffering Canadians for a change. It'll be a hoot! You realise that I have never experienced weather like that?

    Sheesh, did you say that your fingers went numb and your legs started to freeze and you'll have to ditch your bling? Oh dear.My fingers are properly spoilt, they go numb in 10C and at around 4C I baton down the hatches, curse global warming and shake my fists, mainly to stay warm but also because I am annoyed.

    I am the ULTIMATE fair-weather rider.

    Good luck, I am going for a swim later. With SPF factor 'as high as I can buy' :)

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    1. We haven't had temperatures like this for a couple of winters, so I guess we were due. I admit that I haven't been able to get warm the past couple of weeks. BTW, the cutoff is -15C for riding at my barn. :-)

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  7. When I ride with my eyes closed I fall asleep and L takes me back to the barn :)

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  8. OMG!!! -30?? I'm shivering just thinking about it!!! Wussy here thought our -3 was plenty cold enough! Methinks visiting Canada in winter will somehow NOT be on my to-do list *lol*

    Way to go, you and Gem and the riding-with-the-eyes-closed thing! Dread to think where I'd have ended up ;o)

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    1. Winter in Canada can be very beautiful. :-) It my favourite time to trail ride, actually. If you keep moving, you don't notice the cold!!

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