Thursday, January 1, 2009

Riding Outside in Less than Zero

Degrees Fahrenheit that is!

Yesterday I took John outside into the snowy field for some fresh air ha ha ha. It was below zero and there was an evil little breeze, the kind that gives me tomato-face when I come in from riding. But the sun was out. And it was our last ride of 2008!! I wanted it to be a little different.

As you can see from the tracked up snow, others have been riding out there and specifically, little girls have been galloping their horses out there.

They love to do this because:

(a) The horses can't get going fast enough to scare them; and
(b) If they fall off, they hit two feet of snow instead of stony ground.

However! Here is where my cranky side chimes in. It is so hard on the horses!!!! They come in wringing wet with sweat from just 20 minutes of it, and then they are sore and even sometimes lame. It is not fair. I am developing a real crank side about these girls who treat horses like ATV's.

John and I just walked, befitting my dignity as an aging crankypants, and the sun on the snow was dazzling beautiful.

It was cold enough to be making that crunch/squeak sound with every hoof fall. John was in a happy and meditative mood.

The driveway, which we have to walk across with horses no matter where we tack up, was a sheet of rink-quality ice and scared the bejabbers out of me.

John is good on ice; he shortens up his stride to little tiny baby-steps and keeps his balance centered. Montana, who came in just to get his supplements and mints, is not so good and tends to panic if he slips even a little. So he really gave me the jim-jams crossing that ice-sheet. But we all made it to our destinations, mints were served, and a good wintry last day of 2008 was enjoyed by all.



ezra_pandora said...

I would LOVE to ride in the snow, and we get plenty of it around here, but I'm a little tentative. Maybe I'll get my older mare out and do it one of these days :) Sounds like your guy takes real good care of you though over the ice. That's really good.

Happy New Year:)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear you had a good ride for your last one of the year. I personally like riding/walking in the snow. I'd never zoom the horses around like some others do. Guess I'm a cranky pants too. Like you I'm not too fond of walking on ice.
Have a great New Year with your family and your critters.

Jocelyn said...

I am soooooooooo a cranky pants as well when it comes to young girls treating their horses like atv's. I have one at my barn, she calls herself a trainer, I call her a little girl with too big of an ego.
I digress. Have a blessed and wonderful new year!

Pony Girl said...

Looks like you had a fun chilly ride! Crossing that ice would make me nervous, too. I would love to ride in the snow but I'm a little leery...I saw The Horse Whisperer!
Say, I wonder why those horses galloped by their girls come back lame? Is there something under the snow? Bummer. A gallop in the snow is probably fun, but, not at the expense of the horse, or safety, for that matter.
Happy new year to you!

Flying Lily said...

EzraP: Yes, John is a good caretaker. The snow does muffle a fall, so I am pretty confident out there!

GreyHorse: Sistah Crankpants! Salud!

Jocelyn: There should be a fee attached to calling oneself "trainer".!

PonyGirl: It's the depth of the snow - it's a lot like running in deep sand, but with an occasional little slippery eek under one or another foot. They just work and strain muscles like crazy. That opening scene in 'Horse Whisperer' is one I wish I had never laid eyes on!!

lytha said...

fahrenheit!!! omy! that's way colder than here! we have only -3, and 0 fahrenheit is like -17 celsius. *shiver*

i have tomato cheeks too, when i'm out there. hate that. my husband asks me what's wrong with me. "oh nothing, just cold air on my face, and northern european ancestry."

those girls ride their horses to a sweat in that weather? i hope, hope, hope, they at least stay with them and make sure they're dry before leaving them. my solution is the same as yours: don't ride the horse into a sweat in this weather - he's not clipped. the thought of him still damp after dark freaks me out.

you have it cold, girl!

~lytha in only -3 germany

Flying Lily said...

Lytha, yes we are supposedly tough and used to dealing with these extreme temps but I could live without the alarming red face and chapped skin! The girls do walk their horses dry while texting on their cell phones, so I can't fault them there - the barn owner would kill anyone who put a horse away wet.

sue said...

you're braver than I am... I blanketed Mocha and Silver, fed extra beet pulp and hay, and then "ran home".... it was easy to think about riding when I was in by the woodstove, but the trip to the barn.. changed my mind!!! where is that 40 degrees we had just days ago>>>

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

When we lived in AZ-my friends and I did an annual New Year's Day trail ride and potluck...I haven't been able to convince anyone up in this part of the country to join me. Wimps-LOL.
Now that the new year is here, I will be taking advantage of every decent day there is to start conditioning my barrel horses back up.

Flying Lily said...

Sue, I can't tell you how many days I do just exactly that: suit up, show up, feed the treat and go home. When the wind is ripping the arena roof off, it is not worth it!

BECG: Me too! Taking advantage that is...the days are already getting longer, thank goodness. Those Arizona New Years parties sound so nice..