Monday, February 22, 2010

Cabin (or corral?) fever

I went out to the barn today for the first time since I blanketed Panama on Thursday — and rode for the first time since Wednesday. As I expected, he was pretty revved up from several days of standing around — it has been snowy, cold, and overcast quite a bit the last few days.

When I turned him out, he did something he rarely does: He ran away as soon as I stepped back to signal that he was "free." He cantered across the outdoor arena, and without much ado, stopped dropped and rolled. I guess he needed that, after four days of wearing a blanket.

His girlfriend, Lady, got turned out with him for a little bit, and although I knew he was restless and needing to run, instead he flirted with her until her mom put her away. Then he ran. He's like a teenage boy, with his priorities.

I had a hard time deciding whether to ride. I felt pretty lazy, not at all like putting forth the work to saddle him, and plus he was so jumpy I was worried that it wouldn't be a fun ride. But eventually I did muster the resolve to ride. As I expected, he was a bit of a basketcase in the indoor arena — the roof was dripping and snow was sliding off periodically. He has gotten better about the snow sliding off — now he doesn't spook unless it happens to sound like it's right next to him — but the dripping drives him batty. It took 15 minutes of walking — half in each direction — to convince him it was okay to walk by the rail on the drippy side.

I think, if it weren't for the dripping, he probably would have been fine in the arena. He would relax and drop his head a bit on the non-drippy side, but soon as we approached the drippy side, his head came up and his pace quickened. I was constantly having to adjust the reins — letting them out as a reward for relaxing, and taking up the slack again on the scary side so that I was prepared for anything he might pull. He did a few cat jumps and tried a little bolt once before coming back to earth, but eventually he did settle down a bit.

Once he calmed down, I trotted him and worked on my two-point — probably not as much as my trainer would have liked, but that's because I had already expended so much mental energy on keeping Panama firmly grounded until he calmed down. I'm just going to be glad I got any practice in at all, and hope that he got all his wiggles out today — we have a lesson tomorrow!



At February 23, 2010 at 12:48 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Oh, I wish I could ride, the weather here is still rotten. It's been raining and sleeting, snow is melting and looks so dreary outside. I haven't ridden Gilly since November 23!!! Boy, will we have a LOT of ground work to do before I climb on his back! LOL
He is pretty wild and wooly right now, running, bucking, kicking....he feels so good!
Glad you got to ride!

At February 24, 2010 at 7:47 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

For Colorado, you're actually getting a fairly decent winter regarding still being able to ride.

At February 24, 2010 at 7:04 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Jane, I can't even imagine not having ridden in three months! I feel your pain.

NM, it's funny to me how many people think we have bad winters in Colorado. I don't know if it's because associate mountains and skiing with Colorado, or if it's because the occasional national headline about our infrequent blizzards make them think that's what it's like all the time. But you have to remember that Colorado is also very arid, so we don't get much precipitation, and when we do it tends to evaporate pretty quickly afterward.

Denver is also pretty sheltered from most of the bad weather, even though the mountains and plains both tend to get hit harder than we do. The lay of the land means that most storms that come up over the mountains coast right on over us, dumping their loads on the high plains instead.

This is the third winter I've had Panama out here, and I've ridden all winter all three years. (I've lived in Denver for nearly all my life, but Panama spent his first winter as my horse living with my in-laws in Missouri.) Most of our snowstorms don't dump that much on us, and because it's usually sunny and 10 to 20 degrees warmer the next day, it never lasts long on the ground, either!


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