winter "just do it" rides

We are doing our bestest to get up to the barn twice a week to ride our horses. It makes us feel so much better to "just do it" even if in less then ideal conditions. Like Tuesday, when we were in the single digits. My winter comfort riding level typically stays above 20F, for both me and Koda. I feel frozen & guilty otherwise. With the sun shining, and no wind we decided to make the trip anyways. For some odd reason 7F felt warm earlier in the day. It was a balmy 11F by the time we got to the barn.

We never know what type of weather to expect up there, seems it's always slightly different then ours. The indoor can frequently feel colder then it is outside. Just depends. 

Koda and I don't really do much, or ride that long, but I think it makes a huge difference to just be together. Our cold winter rides go something like this: 

If it's not too slippery, Brad and I bring Koda and Nemo in from their turn out pasture. I like walking Koda in. It gives us more together time and an idea of what kinda horse I'll be working with. On icy days, I miss out to baby my shoulder...

Koda goes into his stall for a little while. For some reason, it makes me think he is warming up. I like the transition vs yanking him out of the pasture in the cold and tacking up.

On the days I've remembered to bring the Showsheen inside the house to thaw, I brush Koda's beautiful Fabio-like mane and tail. By this time, Brad is frequently already riding either Nemo or Cierra.

I awkwardly hoist the saddle up, and hope I get it close to right. Otherwise I have to ask for help... 

Once inside the arena, we walk in-hand both directions-ish and go down by the scary end. On Brads lesson days, I'm pretty sure our trainer thinks I'm nuts. Koda doesn't remotely need this, but I like how it feels. This gives us more warm-up in the winter, and allows me to tighten the saddle easier.

Depending on who is in the arena, we mostly walk, work on softening, do a little trotting, a couple turns, backs, sometimes figure 8's etc. I haven't loped Koda for a while. It's been too cold, and I like working up to it after spending more time with him. He honestly would be fine hitting the floor running, it's more for me.

Koda has been a good boy since my accident, altho I know he knows I'm weaker. It's more for my head to get out of my way, but I continue working on doing what I can.

When we just go ride, regardless of life circumstances, I am always so glad afterwards!! The big lug always leaves his hay and comes to greet us. It melts my heart, even in 11F.

Koda walking towards us
Nemo chose to stay at the feeder


Linda said...

Awww, he’s a good one. I force myself out, too, but the surprise is always that I am so much happier for it. I’ve forced myself out so many times, and been so rewarded, that now it has formed a compulsion. I can’t not go out. And I don’t want to leave. It has made going to work hard. And cleaning the house. And pretty much every other responsibility I have. 👍 The cold temps are why I switched to bareback. Just think when you have that big, beautiful barn in your backyard. No one will ever see you again!! You know what my dream is—owning a house above a barn—one of those barn homes you see advertised. Perfection. ❤️

Mrs Shoes said...

After a torn rotator cuff (deemed not bad enough for repair but painful to this day), I started to find lifting our leather western saddles up to be more than I could easily manage.
So I bought a used endurance saddle that weighs about 13lbs (pretty bare bones but still western style & leather) for my SIL (because she's had numerous shoulder surgeries & I tack for her ALL the time), and then I bought a Barefoot brand nubuck leather English style for myself - it weighs about 11 lbs. Best thing I ever did for my shoulder, & my horse seems to love the Barefoot too.
Barefoot saddles come in a number of style, from English to Western to Spanish even. I highly recommend the brand.
Mr Shoes won't let go of his 37lb roping saddle - just yet. If he should ever injure a shoulde thoughr, I know what I'll be buying him for a new saddle!

C-ingspots said...

He loves you. :)

Oh Aurora, I couldn't agree more. Regardless of what we do, time spent with our horses is exceptional, quality time. The stuff of which enriches life. I just know it does both horse and human (but probably us more) both mental and physical good. Promotes that fuzzy, warm feeling which relaxes all our body's functions. *sigh* It gives us peace. And isn't that what we all need of?

All that prep time that you spend with Koda is not wasted. I think it relays your love and respect to him, even while it relaxes you. We can do more good, and accomplish more "training" (hate that term) at the walk than at any other gait. Speeding things up isn't really the point of riding. Just being with your horse, spending time, and doing all those exercises that you mentioned, builds upon our relationship. Time in the saddle is never wasted. I'm proud of you for "just doing it". By contrast, my lazy butt hasn't been in the saddle since last summer. Last summer! Good grief. Indoor riding arena is required here in soggy Oregon, and we just don't have the energy to brush (scrub mud off), load horses and tack and drive to an indoor to ride for what would be, a very short time. I know we'd feel just like you if we did follow through, but hubby gets up very early (4:30) and we're old. :)

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

p.s. I am getting that "new to me" saddle I mentioned earlier. :)

aurora said...

Linda, I hope your job transition is still in the works so you can spend more time with your beloved horses, and also that you get that dream house above a barn. From an outsiders perspective, I admire how much time you spend with your horses. To me, it's like you are already living the dream!

Thanks for the saddle options Mrs. Shoes! I may end up going lighter eventually, but I truly love my saddle. It's custom, and helps keep my butt on top of my horse. Very important with my injury, one more fall and I'm headed to surgery for sure.

Glad you are getting yourself that saddle Lorie! Regularly hauling to an indoor in the winter would take too much effort for me. Hope it dries up for you soon! I don't know that Koda loves me, he loves food best. I like to pretend he does, at least he tolerates me lol. In this photo, Koda ended up walking to Brad first (all the animals love him best, it's ridiculous - even dogs ditch their owners to be by his side) before he came over to me. He has been bringing the horses in more often then not lately, and Koda is definitely a creature of habit. Koda does usually come to me first tho. Either way, he is so sweet to come willingly to us :)

Shirley said...

Never think you are doing too little when you are with your horse. Every moment spent with them is a treasure. I haven't loped Beamer for years, partly because of his arthritis and partly because my lower back isn't mobile enough to sit a lope easily. But we still have quality time together, all at a walk or trot- or sometimes just enjoying each other's company.

aurora said...

It sure is!! We are really looking forward to taking care of our horses again, we really miss it & them.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think it’s great that you take the time to hand walk Koda. I do the same thing with Blue and Rosie. It’s time we’ll spent. In my mind I’m not only warming them up but me too. And I always feel better when I can adjust the girth after our walk. Guess that comes from having Dusty’s saddle always slipping during mounting. I also agree that the indoor more often feels colder than outside, like a huge walk-in freezer! I can’t imagine how heavy a western saddle must be,my English one is heavy enough when hoisting it up. Hope your shoulder heals soon and you’re pain free.

Even though Koda went to Brad he knows you’re his person and loves you. I’m sure he was thrilled to see you and spend time together.

aurora said...

It sounds like you are spending more time in the saddle Arliene, that's great. Your indoor arena description is spot on! Koda does know I'm his person. Nemo/Cierra have come to me first upon occasion, who knows why they lock onto someone first. With Brad, it just happens more frequently so we have to give him crap. Around the barn our saying is "they all love Brad best" he is just an animal magnet. I actually love that about him, it's really fun to observe - and comes in handy when no one else can get an animal to come/calm.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Sounds to me like lovely time with your horse! Trainer can think whatever. (I used to longe Johnny before I rode him, not because he needed it really , but I loved to watch him move out and it was a good way to see if he was sound)