The weather has been so cold, and the footing so treacherously icy, that I haven’t been able to ride much. But, being in the saddle is only part of horse ownership. I’ve been using these winter days to do ground work with Tonka. I’ve taught him to come and stay, drop his head when I say down, and walk and trot politely next to me without a lead rope. This work not only keeps his mind engaged, but it also builds our relationship. Anyway, with the paddock deep with snow, I don’t want to have to trudge out there to catch him. It’s so much nicer to have him come to me!
Yesterday we had a brief respite from below freezing temperatures. Depending on where you walked, the ground was mucky, slushy, slick with ice, or covered with crusty snow, but there was also sunshine and temperatures in the 40s! I tacked Tonka up to remind him that despite all of the stays and comes that he really is a horse and not a dog. We splashed through icy water and walked around the muddy track, and even went back into the woods and broke trail, which was hard work for Tonka. Then I joined other women out in the field. We simply stood there, our horses knee-deep in snow, all of us facing the warm sun. A horse or two dozed. We chatted. I’m eager to get to serious training in the riding ring, but, when a day like that comes along you have to embrace it, let go of goals, and just be.