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!!