Saturday, November 22, 2014

Snow Ride!

Well, more like slush ride.  It's just that the snow was so deep, and Shar didn't have appropriate footwear for Flash (it's okay to ride in snow when the horse is barefoot, though they might still build up a bit of a ball of snow, but the natural flex of the hoof plus the fact that there isn't a lot of hollow space on a bare hoof, keeps it from getting too bad, but when a horse has shoes on but nothing to prevent snow balls, they can build up quite bit in a shot hoof and as you can imagine, horses don't do well in what amounts to slippery high heels).  So I haven't even ridden since the solo ride, which was pretty brief, and of course that means Arya hasn't really been out since then, except a couple of trips to the barn for a once-over and to get her feet trimmed the other day.

(Which I hear went pretty well--the farrier had to tell her that YES, she can lift up and keep up her feet, and then she decided that it was easier to do so than fight him about it.)

So.  First time riding in the snow (for us together--I'm sure Arya has, and I've done it a time or two), a fresh horse, a new saddle...sounds like a good time to try a new, milder, bit, right?  Eh, she'll be fine.

I tacked her up and took her to the round pen, which was still filled with about 4 inches of VERY wet, sloppy snow.  I didn't want her slipping or sliding, so even though none of my sessions in the round pen are intended to wear her out, just get her focused, this session was DEFINITELY not for speed.  I cued her to walk, and she did.  I cued her to turn around and head the other direction, and she took a stride or two of canter, as she often does.  Before I had much of a chance to try to get her to slow down, she started bucking.  Well, more like hopping, straight up and down like a bunny, with all four feet.  This is only her second time in this saddle, and the back cinch WAS a little tight (but the next looser hole was too loose).  It's her first time in this particular bit, at least in a long time, but I doubt that'd be enough to make her buck.  So I chalked it up to feeling fresh, and either enjoying the snow or hating the sloppy snow in the round pen, and kept working her, watching her attitude.  She did just fine, changing direction, stopping, and starting on command.  So I attached the reins, hung the crop from the horn, put my jacket on, and got on.  Somehow the crop fell on the ground, and I was too lazy to get back off and get it (oops--I just realized it's still there!), so I hoped having spurs on (they're mild, though) would be enough.  Mostly it's just for when she gets antsy to itch her face on her front leg--I pop her with the crop to get her moving again.

Anyway, so I was on board, did a little circle in the round pen, and headed out to find Shar.  She was just about ready to go, too, so off we went.

No one had driven this far down this road since the snow fell.  Pretty!

She was pretty darn good!  She didn't fiddle with the bit nearly as much as she did the old one (though I think this bit was a little low in her mouth, but unfortunately that bridle doesn't adjust any smaller).  There was a point where she got kind of antsy to get moving, and kept tossing her head when I tried to hold her back.  And toward the end of the ride, she got a little speed-y a time or two, especially when other horses came up to their pasture fence near us.  But overall, she did great.  It was fun to get out in the snow, but it was even more fun to trot a little on the dirt roads that were nice and bare.  Looking forward to another ride soon, hopefully tomorrow.

I'm also preparing a costume for a parade in the near future...stay tuned!!

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