I was a little annoying yesterday. To myself. I could not stop the growl in my mind about the weather and how it was putting a major damper on my business and getting the horses worked and doing horse chores. Even the kids were cooped up inside for too long and that made me growl-y.
And then, I remembered three things:
- “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” ~ Sir Ranulph Fiennes
- You can walk a horse in any footing, except ice.
- The walk is one of the most valuable tools we have for improving suppleness, building muscle and refining our aids.
So, Adrianna, shut it.
I put my big girl britches on (and two pairs of pants, three shirts, a vest, my snowboarding jacket, hat and gloves) and went out, did all the chores and hopped on a horse. I hacked out and enjoyed the glorious weather and the unusual view of snow covering all the desert. We walked and trotted and even had a little canter where the footing was good. The horse did transitions, lateral work, collection and lengthening. And we both came back completely satisfied.
So I did it again with every horse and reminded myself that the reason I do all the work in the arena is so that I CAN ride under any circumstances, over any terrain, in any weather.
Today will be much the same because the arena is a swampy mess, too slippery for anything but walk. But, I know that I will get some valuable work in regardless. If you have a horse that is hot or young or silly when going out, lunge in the areas that are normally too hard, like the driveway. Just a little trot and walk can do a lot to get going. The other thing I do with the green horses is pony them out as their warm up and then come back and take them out solo. They get to go out twice, but first with the reassuring friend.
Tomorrow, when the arena is back in working order, we will be too!