Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warm enough for a ride and a snuggle

We finally got a warmer day — "warmer" being above freezing — and due to a last-minute scheduling change, I ended up with a lesson this morning.

It was so cold last night, however, that when I got out to the barn at 10am, the temperature was still only in the teens.  It was so cold that my feet felt like blocks of ice after walking around in the snow and on the frozen ground for only about ten minutes.  Brrrrr!

I ended up waiting to pull Rondo's blanket (and Spaghetti's too — I'm helping his owner, my friend, with blanketing since she moved after Thanksgiving) until after my lesson, partly because it was taking so long to warm up, and partly because he was taking a nap when I went to his corral to check on him.

Horse sleeping in his winter blanket

Horse sleeping in his 
winter blanket

I squatted in front of him for a snuggle — there is nothing I like better than sleepy horses — and he put his head in my lap, with his nose resting in my hand, and went back to sleep.  So cute.

When I went to check on Panama, he was napping too, so I got a snuggle from him as well.  But he and I had work to do, so I went to get his halter and he got up to wait for me at the gate, as usual.

Our ride had some frustrations — Panama was a bit squirrely at first from not having been ridden in a week, and decided that turning should be on his terms, and not on mine.  So we did some figure 8s and serpentines, and then my trainer had us start going down the center line and working on leg yielding.

Panama has always struggled a bit with this, and I'm not a good enough rider to know when he's crossing over in the back, or what I should be doing to help him.  We worked on it for a bit, and he got it going clockwise around the arena — so leg yielding to the left — which is usually his worst side.  But then he absolutely refused to figure it out in the other direction — he got frustrated, started fussing, and then periodically would throw in a few perfect steps crossing over in the wrong direction when I would halt him to reorganize and try again.  Agghhhhhhh!

We continued working on it after my trainer left, and I'm not sure he ever really got it, but he at least stopped fussing and started trying again.  Like I said, I can't feel it well enough to know when he gets it just right or not, but I think he did get a few steps here and there.  Between that and the improvements in his attitude, I decided to call it a win, and moved on to trotting and cantering as a reward.  Perhaps because he was so happy about getting to really move, or perhaps because he was mentally exhausted over our leg yielding battle, we got perfect canters on the first try in each direction, so after a few minutes of that I called it quits for the day.

The ride definitely had some frustrating elements to it, but overall it was a nice ride — particularly because I hadn't been able to ride in a week!

This evening all three horses (my two plus Spaghetti) got their blankets back on — it's supposed to be back down to 11 degrees tonight (brrr!).  I'll be out bright and early in the morning to pull them, though, since tomorrow is supposed to get up into the 40s.

Speaking of blankets — I've started patching Panama's blanket myself, since one of his buddies decided to start biting it regularly, and if I didn't sew it myself I'd be taking it in for repairs every other day.  (You can imagine how pleased I am about this, I'm sure.)  I think the end result is actually a little prettier than the shop's repairs, though, don't you?

Horse blanket patched with a denim heart

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