We're sinking deeper into the icy clutches of winter. Normally at around this time, I would be riding less and less. But thanks to my new-found determination to get Limerick into shape for jumping, that's not the case this year.
Fortunately we have a nice warm polyfleece quarter sheet (hunter and blue plaid, not Newmarket stripe) to help keep us warm. It's the type that falls over my lap while I ride and is very cozy (although I do sometimes wonder what will happen if I fall off her while that thing is wrapped around us--will she drag me to a painful albeit fashionably cozy death?)
Then of course, I wear my usual Toastie Toes when it's cold enough...and I also have long johns that I wear under my jeans while riding....and can't forget the two pairs of socks....and turtleneck...and thick hoodie...and...ah, yeah, I look like the Michelin Man upon Limerick's back.
But it pays off.
I've had a lot of fun rides on her, lately. I even acted upon my longtime wish to ride her in the snow and, after a warm-up in the indoor arena, led her to the outdoor arena this past Sunday night. It was well after dark and bitterly cold (I would guess about 10 degrees).
On our way to the outdoor arena, in the dark I could see the dim shape of her head perk up and gaze before her. She then whipped her head one way, then another, observing, watching, listening. Uh oh.
I almost turned around when I saw the dark shape of another horse in the arena. It was my buddy Mary on her mare, Abby. I knew Abby could play babysitter for Lim so that decided it. I proceeded.
In the arena, I mounted up. It was very dark but the white glow of the snow revealed the way. I sent Limerick forward and could feel the snow crunching beneath her hooves. I kept her at a walk off the rail in case it was icy. The stars were out. The biting air made my eyes water. My lap was warm beneath the polyfleece sheet. Lim looked around but was calm. At one point she saw the dark blobs of the pasture horses in the distance to the right of us and stopped to stare at them, her head craned towards their way. I stroked her long fuzzy neck and Mary stopped Abby alongside to talk to Limerick. Lim eventually relaxed and continued on.
After a while, Mary and I became too cold to continue so we dismounted. But I can't wait to do it again! It was a beautiful ride--very short but very sweet.