Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow pony, or a hand-walk in the outdoor arena during Winter Storm Saturn

I've been hand-walking Limerick in the indoor arena every evening since her colic. She and I are very similar (she is truly my equine sister) and we have quickly become bored of the indoor arena. Winter Storm Saturn blew through Chicagoland yesterday, bringing with it 30mph winds, 9 inches of snow and an opportunity for change. Rather than shying away from the storm, I embraced it and decided to hand-walk Limerick in the outdoor arena, in the middle of the storm!

Thankful for a brief drive to the barn, I arrived to a quiet barn devoid of any other boarders. I parked by the outdoor arena and checked the gate—could I open it? With a little muscle, I was able to heave it open enough for Limerick to slip through. The arena itself was covered with around 10 inches of smooth white snow—about 7 inches of new snow sitting atop 3 inches of old, crusty snow.

Getting the barn door open was a tougher challenge but I managed. Limerick said hello to me and I gave her a piece of carrot before slipping the halter over her head. “We’re going outside today for our walk!” I told her. I knew there was a chance she would be silly or spooky out there but somehow I doubted it. We were both bored to tears with the indoor arena—the outdoor arena would be a welcome change.


As her mane whipped in the wind and snow flew into our faces, Lim questioned me a bit on our walk to the outdoor arena—where are we going? There’s nothing out here but snow and wind—and I reminded her that we were going into the arena. We slipped inside the gate and I heaved it shut—or as shut as I could get it—and began walking Lim around. Stepping with her knees high, she surveyed the snowy landscape around us as we walked, looking here and there at points of interest—some visible to me but most not. 


Eating snow

The snow blew into us and settled on her windswept mane and back. The cloudy, dark sky held ambient light, which was reflected by the white landscape—we could see very well. Limerick stopped to watch the horses eating the round bale in the pasture. She investigated a snow-covered mounting block with a snort and sniff, and nibbled at the snow atop a different mounting block. She looked to me for guidance and did not startle when I began running slowly alongside her, as it was difficult for me to walk in the snow. The lead line remained slack between us and I was deeply impressed and proud of the composure she carried.

After 20 minutes, my legs burned and I was beginning to get hot beneath my many layers. Reluctantly, I decided it was time to go inside.

My footprint and Limerick's hoofprint

No comments: