Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Getting ready to ride off into the sunset.
With our measly, impermanent snowfalls here in Fort Collins, its surprising how slippery the riding can be.  We get chilly weather and a few inches of dry snow, which compacts into a very slick surface, especially on roads, then the sun shines and melts the top layers, which refreeze each night, until we have a patchwork of ice, slush, compacted snow, mud, and bare rock.  So, yes, I do get to ride.  But gearing up for and planning each ride is part guess, part luck, and perhaps a bit of knowledge.  Bare hooves?  Boots?  Studded boots? Stick to the flats?  Ok to do some hills? Walk? Trot?   At least for winter riding in northern Minnesota, you know you'll be walking through deep snow (great muscle and cardiovascular conditioning) when the weather allows, if you're riding outside.  Here, it could be anything on any given day. 

Today, after having hand-walked along our road to the trailhead yesterday, I booted Rhio's fronts with the studded boots.  He got a tiny bit of experience using them last year, but we haven't ridden in them much.  With 6 studs per boot, they give him great traction and grip.  Unfortunately, I have only a set of front boots rigged up with his "super-spikes," so my best option when using them is to leave his hinds bare.  This has been working out ok so far, but since I like him working off his hind end for impulsion, it would be nice to have the security of sure traction back there.  I wonder how it will be doing the ridge trail - up, up, up and then down, down, down?  Perhaps we will give a try tomorrow, weather dependent.
Profile shot of the bottom of one of his "super spiked" boots - they really aren't very big, when you consider they are lending traction to a 900+ lb critter carrying weight.

What the bottom of the boot looks like.  I put 6 studs into each boot.
For this evening's ride, we merely did our 2.5 mile loop starting and ending at the farm.  We walk 1/2 mile along the road (paved, with narrow gravel shoulders, and currently mostly packed snow), then the rest is trail along the flats before the ridge begins.  We come back into the farm through the back gate, around the hay field.  The footing is really good for this loop, sans snow, and Rhio likes to fly home.  He certainly knows when he has the security of his "super-spikes" and wanted to fly tonight! We kept it to a trot, and were both happy and rosy-cheeked (ok, not really - being furred, I'm pretty sure horses don't get rosy cheeks) upon our return. 
Waiting for his beet pulp after our ride.  If you look closely, you'll see that he's doing his wiggly-lips, squirmy-tongue silliness (it doesn't lend itself all that well to still photography.)

The best view through the cutest ears ever. 

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