Monday, November 26, 2012

Cold weather

Saturday, November 24, 2012
Last night the temperature dipped drastically and the wind swirled around the house whistling under the eaves. I knew that today might bring a bit of protest from Isaiah regarding his riding lesson. Because the barn where he takes lessons does not have an indoor school Isaiah must endure a variety of elements during his weekly lessons. He had mentioned on a few occasions that he probably won't want to ride in winter when it gets too cold. I don't want him to be a fair-weather rider but I don't want him to hate riding either. This morning he gave a small argument but I convinced him Togo, especially since I don't think it is fair to cancel the day of lesson except in cases of sudden illness or an emergency.

So as I sit in my car waiting for Isaiah to finish (he listens better when I am not watching) I remember the first year that I took riding lessons and the extremely cold winter that Iendured! My father, too, endured it because he stood by the rail and watched every single ride without complaint. Even today, all these years later I can still picture him standing there smiling his encouragement. The greatest gift my father ever gave to me was the opportunity (after years of begging) to take riding lessons. My mother always hoped it would be a short lived obsession, but of course it was not. I find that I often think of my father when I am with the horses.

Although we have had some cold days the dark clouds and occasional snow shower (slightly more than flurries) made it feel like the quintessential pre-winter day. When I arrived at the barn later in the afternoon the sun managed to poke it's head out from time to time but not enough to protect me from the bite of the bitter wind. Suki made a mad dash gallop down the field to greet me and her heart stopping speed mandated a chirp from me to coax her into a slower pace. I need not worry though. Suki will stop on a dime at the gate piaffing if she still has a lot of energy behind her. It's almost a protective mechanism, I think. Perhaps the piaffe is not as harsh as slamming into a halt or swerving away from the gate suddenly. Suki's dash to the gate prompted Nikki to do the same, but she preferred an easy canter while tossing her head. I have found that taking Suki in first brings Nikki to the gate making all of us happy. Suki can hang out in her stall with some hay while I work Nikki.

Even with the cold and wind I decided to make an attempt at riding. Nikki was nicely forward on the lunge with an occasional burst of energy. The wind didn't seem to spook her and her attention was focused on me. The ride was short because of the oncoming darkness but my mind and body needed it as I am sure Nikki's did as well. We were even rewarded with a bit of snow flurries. The cold, wet flakes felt refreshing on my face as I turned into the wind. I stuck out my tongue and caught some snow. Although I miss the indoor arena, it was nice to be out in the cold for a bit. If I was at VMF i would have ridden inside and missed out on the November snow. I tapped with my calf with my fingers and Nikki turned to look at me. I loved watching the snowflakes melt into her eyelashes...
Time to dig out those winter riding gloves!

Suki seemed much happier inside with her hay rather than outside watching me work Nikki. She enjoyed her spa treatment and only her neck seemed really dry. Between the wind and the impending darkness I decided not to lunge Suki that night. This time of year darkness seems to come quickly. One minute you feel like you have enough daylight then BOOM it's dark! With more cold and wind expected on Sunday the girls were snugged in heavier blankets. But Sunday night I will have to lighten them up again because Monday will be warmer....then back into heavy clothing Monday night with snow expected on Tuesday. I hate these drastically fluctuating temperatures. It needs to get cold and stay that way!

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