I'd like to be able to say we've started spring training! But, alas, with a good solid snow pack everywhere, even on the sunniest exposures, it is more like winter training. I picked Red for today's ride, since he hasn't been out at all since November, and D. will likely ride him on Thursday. I hate for someone else to be the first ride of the spring - I want to make sure everything feels right, brakes are good, etc, before letting someone else ride one of my horses. I realized as I was tacking up that I had yet to put rings on his new biothane reins, so went without the running martingale. I wondered at the wisdom of this, but he was very good (and so happy to get out!).
Rhio was NOT happy to be left behind - see the following sequence of photos for some idea of his carrying-on at the gate. He will be very happy to get to go on Thursday.
C. on Annie accompanied us, along with Kelso. We ventured down to the road and set off along the closed section. The horses were sinking in up to their fetlocks in the snowmobile-packed going, so it was quite a workout despite keeping mostly to a walk. Our first ride of the year is very sandy, so working through snow is actually good conditioning for those trails. In no time, the scent of horse sweat wafted up from their necks and flanks. Annie was a little annoyed at Red's insistence on leading, and pinned her ears in her best attempt to intimidate him. He ignored her, taking the lead and keeping it nearly all the 8 miles we did. If allowed, he would have moved out at a much faster pace, and several times we let them trot and canter for the sheer joy of it.
It was a lovely evening ride, and I can't wait to repeat it on Thursday. Even more, I can't wait for the snow to melt so we can REALLY ride! Five weeks till our first endurance ride of the season.