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