"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Thursday, January 24, 2013

SNOW RIDE!!!

Has anyone else noticed that lately most of my post titles are full of exclamation points? Oh well-it's exciting stuff!

It was a BEAUTIFUL DAY!!! We had about 1"-2" of snow overnight. I had seen the forecast last night, but when I went to bed at midnight, no snow was falling yet. This morning I woke up, checked my e-mail and looked on Facebook. Charles and I have friends that live in Woodbridge, VA (about 30 min south of DC) and they had posted pics of their big chocolate Lab in their backyard...playing in the snow. I ran to the windows when I saw that, and this is what was waiting for me outside:



Oh my gosh!

I waited until 1:00 pm to head for the barn, as Sally would be there around that time and it meant there would be someone to talk to. I dressed in exactly the same clothes as yesterday, and this proved to be enough warmth-wise, and for the first time ever got to work warming up the truck and the accumulated snow off.

All of the horses were in the bottom part of the field again. The view was stunning as I pulled up to the barn:




The snow was like powder. Soft and fluffy, more like sand in consistency, and was blowing off of the roof tops like ocean spray in the light breeze. I was grinning like an idiot as I got out of the car and stomped around in the snow like a little kid.

Lily trotted away as soon as she saw me come into the turnout! She tried hiding behind her friends, but I cornered her by the fence, and here she gave up and came to me. Silly girl. That answered my question about whether she'd like the snow or not!

"Really, Mom? I want to stay out here!"
Me too, Lily!

Bottom part of the field

She was super-relaxed on the cross ties. Looking at the arena from the barn, I was dying to go ride out there-no one had ventured into the outdoor yet, and the snow was like the most inviting smooth white carpet. I asked BQ how insane would it be to attempt, since obviously no one else had tried it, and she said it shouldn't be a problem-I already knew where the few ice patches were under the snow, as they had already been frozen the last 2 days, and the snow hadn't melted and refrozen yet.

So we rode in the snow!



She really didn't  care, and stayed focused throughout, even when one of the horses in the paddock next to the arena charged the fence while we were walking by on a loose rein!



We did a similar warm-up to what we did yesterday and moved on to the same exercises, except we worked longer on the 10-10-10. I added the canter today, and Lily was ON IT! She nailed those transitions spot-on! Initially she was freight-training through the trot to canter transitions, so I brought her back to 10-10 only at trot and walk until she settled, then gave it another try. Her canter was so uphill and collected - it was the definition of having her "in front of my leg"- that I turned the exercise into 20-20-20. By the end of the exercise (we did 15 minutes total), she was picking up the canter in response to me gathering my outside rein and shifting my weight slightly-nothing else. After that we did spirals in the corners again, and for these she was very soft-reaching down into the contact and staying there. It was a nice, nice workout.

The one drawback of the Eponas? She does get ice balls in them, especially in the right front. Now I'm really looking forward to her being completely barefoot again. I picked the ice balls out after the ride, groomed her well (she's really enjoying getting curried right now!), and let her go outside again for another hour before going back to bring her in to her warm stall and giant pile of hay.

I hung around the barn, yakking to Sally and BQ, until my feet started to get really, really cold in my snow boots (those Blizzard boots are truly awesome-everyone else was slipping and sliding in their paddock boots, but mine have mad grip even on the ice!) Sally, who is from Southern California, was also getting cold, so her and I left at the same time, fleeing to our respective homes.

It was a gorgeous, productive day!


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