Jodi & Ranna
It was nearly 50 today, and the spring melt is in full swing. Now, I'm not fooled into thinking winter is really over, mind you - I have lived here most of my life and I know we're in for at least one more big snow storm. March did "come in like a lamb," so we all know what that means.... But as long as this weather holds, I am going to spend as much time on my horses as I can. First competition is 8 weeks away and we have winter flab to burn off!
Today I rode a horse out of Jodi's herd, Gypsy. Gypsy is TALL (at least to me!) and all leg, but I did manage to mount from the ground. She's a very good girl with tons of hair! She was as slow as molasses in January on the roads, but our brief excursion down the snowmobile trail revealed a new side to Gypsy. She was light on her feet, and offering a beautiful canter for most of the trail. Once we were back to the road, pokey was her middle name. I also noticed she disliked being on the pavement and tried to always stay on the muddy shoulder. She was solid as a rock, though, for all the mechanized modes of transportation we encountered and didn't step a hoof out of line all day.
Jodi rode her young horse Ranna, and I was impressed with how Ranna took most everything in stride. We started our ride on the shoulder of a paved road, and had icy patches & moderate traffic, including several big dump trucks. Both horses were a little balky, but nothing significant. We then did several miles on the mostly clear Church Road, including our favorite "home" training hill by the sheep farm (no sheep in attendance today, as they are probably as tall as the snow in their pasture is deep - so we'll be seeing them out grazing probably sometime next month).
Jodi & Ranna looking ahead to the hill - the sheep live on the left.
We crossed the highway (it was totally clear & we couldn't even hear any traffic - odd!) and continued down the paved road until it became gravel, then decided to chance the snowmobile trail. The footing was pretty good, with the horses only punching through occasionally. We can't ride this trail in the summer because it crosses a large swamp. We hoped the trail was deteriorated enough that we wouldn't run into any sleds, but that wasn't the case. The groups we met were mostly very courteous, and although Ranna thought she might want to make a fuss about them, she was really very good. Gypsy just stood there like these whining machines buzzed past her every day of her life. We also saw a mystery animal up in a birch tree across the swamp - its profile looked rather like a porcupine, but it was really too far away to tell.
We trotted & cantered most of the 2 or so miles we did on the snowmobile trail - a first for Ranna (long trotting!)
Overall, we did about 10 miles very slowly, in about 2 hours 40 minutes. It was a grand day to be out, and my first sustained forward motion down a trail on a horse in months, so I was happy. Ranna gets a gold star for her performance today, and steady Gypsy was the perfect companion for a youngster on a long & challenging outing like this. To cap off our successful & enjoyable ride, we sat on the deck in the sun & enjoyed adult beverages with bare heads & bare hands!