January 2015 is just about behind us and I am not sad to see it go. The weather has made riding consistently next to impossible. I am lucky to ride two or three times a week right now and our work is scaled back significantly. We have thankfully had more rain than snow, but the frigid temperatures mean slick and frozen footing. Slick and frozen footing means conservative rides to insure that there is no slipping on slick spots lurking just beneath the surface of the ring. Had one scary moment last Sunday when Ike lost his hind end at the trot. Luckily, we stayed upright with no sprains, strains, or lingering injuries. The footing had appeared acceptable…needless to say that I avoided that end of the arena and kept Ike at a more conservative pace. No point risking an injury.
Even if I don’t ride, I still worry about injuries. The paddocks are a muddy mess right now and I fear that Ike will slip during one of his galloping jaunts around his field. His friend Lady has fallen twice as she cavorts about her paddock. His brother injured his left hind showing off his black belt board-breaking skills to the mares. This time last year Ike had just come off stall rest for a lameness issue due to paddock antics. We do not need any repeats.
We also do not need any repeats of my gymnastic dismounts from Ike. At my age, my gymnastic skills are pathetic at best. Truth be told, they were not that great in my younger days either. My ability to get my feet under me as I flip off my galloping horse to stick the landing is nil/nada/zero. Luckily for me, there have not been any vultures lurking around the ring. Fingers are crossed that they have relocated to greener pastures.
And speaking of fingers, let me just say that it is impossible to execute an effective half halt or maintain the proper rein length when your fingers are partially frozen. When you add thick winter gloves and hand warmers as well, it is like riding with oven mitts. On the days I have ridden, I usually have a lesson with Ms. C. Might as well make the most of the ass-in-saddle days. Even if we cannot canter or work on lengthenings, there is still much we can do. Rein backs, shoulder in, haunches in, turn on the haunches (currently our worst nemesis), square halts, 10 meter collected trot circles, and of course, my sitting trot, are all on the “things we can do most days” list.
Here’s hoping that warmer days are just around the corner.