|It was cold enough to make Aengus, the Maryland kitten, want to bundle up in the hoodie I had just removed!|
|Behind the indoor. There was still snow here, where it was blocked from the wind.|
The horses were all in the bottom field again. Lily tried hiding behind her buddies (I should have taken photos of that!) but then gave up and came to me on her own, ears pricked and happy.
I tacked her up in the aisle, and ended up sliding a wind breaker on over my clothes because the frigid wind was cutting right through every single layer I was wearing. Her legs and hooves were uber muddy, but I scraped as much of it off as I could so I could take these pics for you guys. Of course while I'm photographing my mare's hooves, the new boarder is bringing her stuff in. She must've thought I'm nuts...
|She was standing even more pigeon-toed than usual here...|
|Left front-the more upright hoof.|
|Left front, underneath.|
|Right front-the flatter hoof. She was shifting her weight when I took this pic.|
|Right front, underneath. Sorry about all the mud. I had scraped it off, and she managed to step on a clump anyway.|
|Left hind. It looks a little bull-nosed, but it's from the flash of the camera.|
I decided to ride in the indoor-with the wind, it was way too cold to ride outside. I walked Lily around to let her get used to the sound of the wind howling against the building, then got on. She was very, very "up" and distracted. We circled around and went in both directions, and she was still very looky, her ears pointing every which way except at me. I brought her to a stop in the center of the arena, dismounted, removed her reins and sent her off.
She galloped around and around and around, bucking and doing bicycles with her front legs in the corners. I let her go, every once in awhile asking her to change direction. When the fellow boarders turned up, I stopped to chat with them for a bit, and it was funny because Lily immediately came to a stop in the far corner of the arena and just waited there for me to finish talking, completely relaxed with her head down, occasionally sniffing at the ground, but with her attention 100% on me. As soon as my attention was back on her, she went right back to running around! Now, however, she was turning her head midflight to look at me, as if expecting some other command. I bowed, asking her to come to me, but this only made her circle around and continue in the opposite direction. I had her work for another 10 minutes or so, at a trot, then asked her to come to me again. This time she screeched to a halt at the far end of the arena, turned and marched right over to me until she was standing at arm's length. What a good girl!!!
I mounted up again, and she felt much better after allowing her to work off all of that excess energy. We did a brief warm-up at the walk, since she was already more than warm enough, and started working at the trot.
We had to get really creative for this ride. The indoor is the size of a small dressage arena (20m x 40m), so as soon as you have more than 2 horses in there, it gets pretty crowded. We started out by ourselves, but then 2 boarders came in to walk their horses around, a farrier parked his truck in the indoor (WTF??!!) and another rider joined us.
|I mean, really???|
Lily was trying to get fast and flat, but responded when I half-halted and brought her back. It seems like we cantered a lot, but we did not-we were cantering about a minute at a time, between the lack of space and trying to make sensible figures while dodging the other 3 horses and the truck in the arena! This is how well she was responding: normally, I would not have cantered her AT ALL in an arena of that size with one other horse, never mind 3 others.
After this, I let her stretch at the walk, then brought her back and we did another variation of the 10-10: 10 trot strides and halt for 6 seconds. Then trot again for 10 strides. We did this several times in each direction. Then I added a challenge: trot 10 strides, halt for 6 seconds, back up for 8 strides, then trot for 10 strides. SHE DID IT!!! Her backing up was smooth and steady, and she was immediately springing into the trot from the rein-back. (She likes this sort of power-building exercise and can get quite excited about them!) We did this 4 times in each direction, then I let her walk out and stretch to cool down. She had barely broken a sweat on her neck, but then again, the temperature was dropping. Looking down, I could really see Lily's breath-it almost looked like I was riding a fire-breathing dragon. Speaking of fire, while cooling down, the farrier turned on the grinder on his trucks, and Lily got to watch. She was a very good girl-she looked at the sparks flying, but didn't spook at neither the sight nor the sound. Just kept on walking.
I dismounted, loosened her girth and took her for a brief walk outside, and tried to get a decent photo of her in her velvet pad and white boots, but she kept making faces...
|"You're really going to take pictures right now? Just take me into the barn and undress me." She kept trying to come to me.|
|"This is boring."|
|"Mom, REALLY?? It's freaking COLD out here!" It didn't help that I laughed at her when she made that face...*lol*|
|"SOOO BORED!" She even cocked a foot in this one.|
By then, Lily's stall was ready and the little bit of sweat on her back had dried, so I put her midweight blanket on and let her go into her stall to eat her hay.
I've been trying to take her sheet and stable blanket home to wash (you guys saw the sheet in the bronc riding post...it's FILTHY) but with the radical ups and downs the weather has been doing, I hadn't been able to, as I don't have backup horse clothes. BQ gave me the clear to take them tonight, as it's supposed to stay in the 20s until Sunday.
Of course, I hosed the crap out of the sheet in the wash rack at the barn-I couldn't throw it in the washer with that much mud clinging to it-then wrapped the wet thing up into as small a bundle as I could make it and dumped it in the back of the truck with the stable blanket/cooler.
It's a 15 minute drive home from the barn. By the time I parked in front of the apartment and went to get Lily's clothes out of the truck bed, the sheet had FROZEN solid. Don't ask me why, but this cracked me up. I started laughing and laughing. I just...I LOVE IT, you know? This weather. I've been wanting seasons since I was a kid and would avidly read anything about surviving in the winter-breaking ice in the buckets and troughs, not leaving wet clothes out because they'll freeze, making sure you have waterproof insulated gloves or you will pay dearly, etc, etc. It's a neverending list of things, and it's just awesome to be able to finally EXPERIENCE it, to have to go back and review all of those things I read so long ago, because I'm actually putting the knowledge to use! When you have lived in hot weather your entire life, lands of ice and snow seem like something out of a fairy tale. You know they exist, but it is something far, far away that other people experience. It's nice to finally be one of those other people. There's a certain kind of magic in finding icicles hanging from the bottom of your car, in watching the snow blow away on the wind like plumes of smoke, in seeing your horse's breath in the air as you canter around the arena. Hell, even the layers: they are a pain in the ass but it is an art to get them just right!
Lily's sheet and stable blanket are officially clean again, and will go back to the barn tomorrow. There's supposed to be more snow tonight!