|This is what we both think of the cold...!|
During the holidays, I was shuttered indoors with family most of the time but I did manage to sneak in some saddle time here and there. The Friday before NYE day, I met J at the barn to do a long trail ride and have her show me more new trails. Unfortunately about 10-15 minutes into the ride, we discovered that the gravel road accessing the trail head was completely frozen over and encased under a solid sheet of ice. I convinced J it was not worth risking injury and we turned around, carefully making our way back to the barn. A few vehicles passed us while we were navigating around the ice and my anxiety level immediately shot straight up...all I could picture in my mind was 5000lbs of metal crashing into my horse and me. Fortunately no such thing happened.
In stark contrast to the dirt roads, paved asphalt in my area of NJ is typically salted within an inch of its life during the winter and the roads were sparkling clean and ice-free. Itching to trail ride, J and I decided to go for a walk. When I half-leased Rori about 3 years ago, I had pre-emptively scouted out more places to take her to ride and stumbled upon a trailhead access point that was located on the side of a road and had always wanted to check it out. I did attempt to try the route once with Rori but she had zero interest and we didn't get far without an argument every single step away from the barn. It really wasn't enjoyable or fun for either of us so I didn't try too hard with her.
Quest, on the other hand, was totally game for an adventure and led the way as we walked through residential neighborhoods with J and Lucy. It was a quiet Friday morning with little to no road traffic (both mares were totally fine with vehicles passing them when there was traffic) so we took our time meandering along and stopping at our leisure along the way to explore potential locations for more trails.
|This turned out to be a dead end trail but |
the stone walls were super cool. My guess is
area used to be all pasture years ago.
We eventually reached the trailhead access and I was FINALLY able to "connect" the trails together after 3 years of wondering. The rest of the ride went without a hitch and both mares seemed to enjoyed themselves as well.
On NYE, A and I had a mutual friend's party to attend later in the afternoon so we did a quick arena ride. We got festive and dressed the ponies with polo wraps in their respective colors. I gifted A with the teal set for Christmas this past year. My friend M at KBTC gave me a set of purple two years ago and I had not yet tried them on Quest. She looked super cute though!
|Following me around in the arena after our ride <3|
The weekend after snow was on the forecast but I wanted to fit in a trail ride before the weather got bad. I got Quest tacked up and we set out solo. The snow began falling about 10 minutes into the ride. Despite bundling up, I was still freezing but it was a ride nothing short of magical. We were lone observers in a quickly changing landscape of gray into white surrounded by the dreamlike lull of falling flakes.
I managed to hold out for almost an hour 30 minutes before it was just too cold to stay out any longer. I spent nearly as long thawing out afterward. My core and legs are fine but my hands and feet still get chilled. I have gloves and bought some wool socks a couple months ago and have been wearing them for colder temp rides but my feet still get cold. Maybe I need some fancy winter riding boots...On the other hand, mareface was fine the whole time and was all warm and snug in her blanket at the end of our adventure.
Yesterday I took a day off work to recoup from a cold I caught the past week while traveling on business. I was stuffy but not feverish AKA "still okay to go to the barn". I told myself it was because I had to deworm Quest (the boarders are responsible for administering at OF, staff does it for a fee if you don't get to it in time), I even wore jeans and sneakers to try and dissuade myself from riding...But the warmer (34 degree) weather beckoned me to hop on. I kept it simple and intended to only do a bareback arena rehab session ride. Of course seeing the bright sunlight made me want to venture outside, so then we hit the trails for a walk.
It was my first time doing a longer trail ride with Quest bareback and she was awesome; a little looky because the sunlight did cast some new, strange looking shadows all around but no spooks or antics. I made a point to ride up the back field to check on the trailer. The ghetto hitch cover is still hanging in there lol
All in all, a handful of good rides were had over the few weeks despite the weather and my health attempting to thwart the best laid plans. While I might have a FB reputation to uphold as the insane person that rides in every weather, I'm certainly looking forward to saying good riddance to winter!