I was really looking forward to Presidents day because unlike many other companies, mine gives us off (except we didnt for MLK day...weird but hey Ill take it!). I actually thought we could trailer again to get a decent ride in and had it alllll planned out, except I woke up bright and early to see the weather they were predicting for later in the day to have already arrived in full swing.
It is the kind of snow that is not a lot quickly but just enough to cover roads that arent treated and potentially be a problem...and could be fine. I am still fairly new to trailering (2-3 years experience) and was not about to risk it. So we settled for a ride at home in less then ideal footing conditions...
|Just one more bite of hay mom!|
We started off in the small arena in the hopes the footing wouldnt be sooo bad but it would mean staying on a 20 ish meter circle most of the time. I let Tillie walk around a bit to re-acquaint herself with that ring since she was a bit curious about everything up there. In all fairness you can see everything from this ring...there are fields with horses in it surrounding 3 of the 4 sides so it can get a bit distracting.
|The snow is pretty at least....|
Tillie was great through the field which usually has gremlins in it until we got closer to the woods and she was sure there was horse-eating monsters lurking so was a bit sucked back. She was a good girl and I really focused on me trusting her with the only rule being, 4-beats and all four feet on the ground. In the past I would muss and fuss with her, but I have learned to let her look and its ok...just keep moving (singing just keep swimming from Dori in finding nemo).
|Just keep moving.|
We decided not to brave the steep hills for risk of sliding and did a short flat loop in and out of the woods and try hacking around in the gremlin haunted field. Tillie knew right away we were headed back home and it was quite funny her solution to trucking home instead of jigging (see growing up!) was to stomp her feet deliberately and loudly.
|Awkward angle = mule version of Tillie|
The barn mate was laughing because she sounded like an elephant...Or like a giant troll trying scare away the gremlins. I decided we need to make a point to hack out more...
|See - I is calm!|
She had one diva moment slipping coming into the field where she leaped and did a few canter strides before deciding it was ok and was back to stomping her way around the perimeter of the field.
|Fee-fi-fo-fum stomping Tillie says|
We watched our barn mate trot off and circle us for a few minutes and I decided to face the fear of the field and give it a try...last year she would consistently sit down, rear or leap when trying to do anything more then walk because of how much she hated the feeling of the snow and footing (Did I mention she is a diva?)
I got off and breathed a sigh of relief...I rode in the field without any huge hissy fits and it wasnt exactly pleasant, but it wasnt nearly as unpleasant as last year! Yay for growing up Tillie!
She was a bit tense at the trot, but overall a good girl! She even started looking for contact and trying to work. I wasnt even going to attempt a canter until my barn mate encouraged me to at least give it a shot since she was already acting more grown up about the trot.
She gave me some sass in the transition in the right lead canter, but all in all held it together and did ok! She was really protective of herself, but we didnt have leaping or porpoising through the air so I consider that a win.
Of course you cant canter one way and not try the other...so we gave the weaker, left lead a try. Same sass and head shake in the transition and she was much less happy this direction. Every other stride she would flip her head threatening to be soooo bad. That is all she did though and it never escalated so I waited to ask for trot until she gave me a few strides without flicking...i could tell it was much harder for her to balance this way and didnt want to push it.