I took Red out for a spin yesterday, and hopefully this is the start of some regular posting on my blog again. January was difficult with my old dog being very ill (he's so much better now! I can't believe I nearly euthanized him just a few weeks ago) and then going to Florida for vacation. I have photos & stories backed up from December that never got done, so here's to a fresh start going forward.
We had about six MORE inches of fresh powder to traverse on our outing yesterday. Slogging through the hayfield is getting to be a bit ridiculous, actually. Our trail was a trough made by his belly dragging in the snow! I realize he's not the tallest of horses (14.3) and he's got a bit of extra winter belly hanging there, but, geesh, leaving a belly print is a bit extreme. We did make our way gingerly down the road for about 1/2 mile as well. Going away from home, this worked well. Our road hasn't been plowed yet, so the edges are untouched by vehicle traffic and the ice beneath is fairly well covered. We walked sedately along. Then we turned around. And the trouble began... because of course Red hasn't seen what amounts to open ground in a long time, and he was itching to fly. My constant admonishing to "watch your feet!" "slow down, it's slippery!" and "knock it off!" fell on completely deaf ears as we jigged toward home. About 50% of the time I managed to get a speed walk, but as soon as a foot would slip, he'd use that as an excuse to break into a trot or veer into the center of the road which was obviously icy. Grrrr! I had contemplated going all the way back to his barn on the road, but decided to go back through the deep snow. I decided the danger of falling on the road was greater than the possibility of getting bogged down or injured in the deep snow. He did try to trot (bounce-bouNCE-BOUNCE I went!) and even canter in that deep, deep snow, but we made it safe & sound.
It's not like I don't want to be flying down the trail, too. Our days are longer, the sun is warmer, and ride season is approaching! I started keeping a ride log for Red in 2005 and every year except one I have been able to get out on the gravel roads and do some serious conditioning miles in the first week of March. We sure have a lot of snow this year, and it just keeps coming, so I would guess we may have to wait a few additional weeks this year.