On Thursday (Thanksgiving) we drove 2 hours away for a family dinner, so I didn't have time to ride Tom. I turned him out in my ring with lots of hay and water and my neighbor kept an eye on him and brought him in and fed him supper. Our other 3 horses stayed in for the day. They don't care, as long as they have hay and we promise to let them out the next day! I worried about Tom's lack of exercise, but on Friday I rode him and he was pretty good. After watching him in the video, careening around on his forehand, I decided it was time he tried a little "real" work and I encouraged more self-carriage. He was a little unhappy with that, but gave it some effort and by the end of our 45 minute ride he was pretty good.
Yesterday I was busy working all morning. Tom was out trudging around in his pasture, and I had planned to reward myself for my day's work with a ride in the afternoon. At 2:00 a blizzard hit! Literally, within 15 minutes we went from a cool, sunny day to a white out! The horses started running around so we brought them all in. They don't have snow shoes on, and I worry about them slipping with the skis they are wearing now. Tom doesn't have hind shoes on, so he was a little better off. Still, I didn't feel safe riding him as the snow was balling up in his feet and putting him up on slippery stilts. So much for my ride...
I considered calling Penny this morning to see if I could take Thomas over to her stable where I will be boarding him for the winter. I'd really like to keep him here at home as long as possible, as I feel it's easier to monitor him and saves me some time not traveling to ride. It was 19° this morning. My ring was frozen and snow-covered. The forecast for the week is for warmer weather- in the 40s during the days, so I decided to hold out. By noon today it had barely climbed up over freezing!
At 3:00 I went over and checked my ring. It was OK in the bottom half, so I tacked Tom up and took him out. It's lots of fun riding in the cold, and being confined to a 20m circle! When God gives you lemons- make lemonade, right? I did our usual slow warm up with ten minutes of walking, then added walk/halt/walk transitions. He wanted to dive onto his forehand in these, but after 5 or 10 of them, he got better so we moved on to trot. He was reluctant on the slightly frozen footing, again worse to the right, but loosened up and was pretty good after 25 minutes. Staying on that circle we worked umpteen transitions, shoulder in/ haunches in, shoulder in to canter, counter bend, etc. It's amazing how much you can do in a small space on a big horse! I worked him a full hour and rewarded him with a cool-out walk down our road, which was melted and soft.
It's supposed to go down to 23° tonight and up to 42° tomorrow with sun so maybe I'll have more ring to use then. I have got to get the poor boy clipped. I have had so much work to do that I've been late getting over to ride and then I don't have time to clip him first. Maybe tomorrow!