Like so much of the country, we are experiencing some pretty crazy temps. I’ve made it out to the barn the past three days, though, and I’m happy to say our four are doing quite well.
The big cold was rolling in Sunday evening, so I went out to check everything late that afternoon. It was about 2 degrees, and I brought everyone inside and brushed the ice off their faces and bodies. I then hopped on Bear for an easy ride.
I grabbed the flag and worked on moving the other horses. I briefly got them trotting and loping circles together. Then I worked on moving just one, and after I had pushed the one for a few moments I removed the pressure and sidepassed or backed up to them to rub them down with the flag or pet their faces with my hand. Laredo had a lot of energy, so he wasn’t totally all right with this at first, but after some practice everyone was happy to move or stand and get face pets.
Yesterday morning we woke up to -15 degree temps. I bundled up again and went out to get the horses. My body stayed pretty warm, but it was really hard to keep my hands warm working all the ropes and gates. And even inside the indoor arena it was zero degrees. I think they were happy to be in and out of the wind, but really, it still wasn’t that nice for them. Again I removed the ice from their coats and picked some out of their hooves. But that was it. There was a little running and romping, but mostly we just kind of hung out for a little while. Then I put them back out. At least the sun was shining and they had plenty of hay, heated water, and a wind block.
Today I was supposed to meet the ferrier at the barn, but he ended up not coming due to the cold. It was about 4 or 5 degrees when I got out. But there was almost no wind, so it felt downright comfortable compared to yesterday. I brought everyone inside again, and they settled right in. No romping or kicking up. I think they might be getting a little bored with this new come inside routine. Still, I brushed the ice out of them and picked their feet again. At least today the indoor had warmed up to 18 degrees. Again, it felt quite comfortable.
So I tacked up Zoey, and we had a nice, short ride. For the past two weeks I have been riding her in the hackamore due the sores she got from a bad bale. Those seem to be healed, so I wanted to get back to the bit and see how that compares. She has been good in the hackamore. She’s mostly light to it, but I do feel like we were losing some softness and refined communication. It would probably take more time to get both of us really comfortable with it. And since we are most likely going to sell her to someone who will use a bit, I was excited to get back to the snaffle.
She was not thrilled about taking the bit (even though I thoroughly warmed it up), but once she relaxed and took it, she was great. I was surprised that she was much lighter through her whole body. She was softer off my legs even when I was not engaging the reins. It is possible I was riding differently, but I really don’t think so (my hip was really tight from the cold, so I know I wasn’t riding great today). My guess is she has just become more relaxed about the snaffle and that is where she is comfortable.
We only did a short ride. The other guys were still hanging out in the arena. Bear and Steen enjoyed following us around some. I’m pretty sure Laredo just took a nap. We worked on bends, moving the front and then the hind, walking circles, and then did a bunch of trotting. She was quite good with all of it.
And lucky for us, things are warming up. I’m a little worried about the weekend forecast, though. Supposedly it could get near 40. I really don’t want things to get sloppy this early in winter. Are average winter temps too much to ask for?