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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Last Snow Ride

Woke up before the alarm feeling well-rested on Tuesday, so I rushed to get dressed and run out to the barn for a ride before work!

Lake on the way to the barn. Frozen and covered in snow!
It was the first day in the 40's and the snow was just starting to melt when I got Lily from the field. I parked my car by the mare field so I could just get in the car and leave immediately after turning her out, didn't bother changing out of my snow boots (I'd been riding in the Rimfrosts for the last month), brushed out her mane and tail, picked her feet, tacked her up in the Wintec (no breastplate nor saddlebags to mess with), and grabbed the first bridle I found, not even bothering with the rope halter underneath.

I originally wanted to do a dressage school in the arena, but there were still 2' of snow in there! We walked around to warm up, then attempted to trot. We did one lap in each direction, and then I dismounted and led Lily out. It wasn't fair to try to do anything remotely dressagey when the snow was that deep.

We ended up riding up and down the driveway for 45 minutes, doing interval training by alternating longer walks with short trots on the road on a loose rein going away from home, and trotting in the snow towards home. There were already tracks in the snow and she's a smart girl: she knows it's easier to work in snow that has already been trodden on. She really stretched out in an effort to get each hoof to fall in a previous hoof print. It felt like I was riding a Standardbred. Really, really cool!

Riding back towards the barn. The driveway is 1/2 mile long; I've tracked it with a couple of different GPS apps.

Big ole loop in the reins
We threw in some canter through the pea gravel portion of the driveway, and also through the snow next to the road by the house (about 10-15 strides).

Our last 10 minutes were spent at a walk, and we worked on stopping  going away from home. If Lily tried to anticipate turning around, she'd get sent forward into a trot. Then we'd halt and try again. (She actually halted by verbal command from the trot more than once!) She finally got it and stood still, waiting for my command, but she gave me plenty of dirty looks over her shoulder in the meantime: "I don't understand why it's so important to just stand still here and I think it's really stupid, but I will do as you say because I know you'll let me turn around if I do." I had to laugh.

We called it a day after that.

The sound of her hooves on the wet pea gravel reminded me of walking at the ocean's edge.

We did 4.6 miles in an hour total (including the warmup in the arena) and finished with time to spare. I had tea with Kathy while Lily ate her beet pulp, then she got turned back out and I left to go to work.

Her feet have been looking amazing since starting this once-a-week road work! I must post pics. Thanks for the suggestion, Andrea!


  1. I love the driveway to your barn and your galloping hill. Those two things make me green with envy. I must search our area for the equivalent of those two items.

    I loved listening to Lily walk through the slush. Best sound ever.

  2. I've done that trot-away-when-stopping drill before too. Pisses Tristan off but it only takes a few to get the gist of it, and it really works!

  3. Yeah that driveway is seriously awesome! We don't have pea gravel anywhere around here that i know of but I ride on the pavement a lot and I've noticed it has a similar effect on their feet:)