Traffic in the tropics

After a month of shut-ins because of icy trail conditions, and a deep freeze with temperatures ranging from -18 to -30 ... what happens when the magic of fresh powder, bright sunshine and warm temperatures collide at the same time? Everyone plays hooky and heads for the trails!

Conditions were just magical and my buddy and I headed out with our very fresh horses for 2.5 hours of pure bliss. We took a little stretch called the “race track” where the footing was glorious but our horses were so fresh that we kept it quiet at a big trot. It took 2 hours with lots of trotting and cantering before I had my horse back. But that is just what we needed.

We saw riders, sleighs, skiers, ski-skaters, snowshoers ... and everyone had a big smile on their face. Our club volunteers had groomed the trails again in anticipation (third time within a week) so we were in footing heaven. And it was so warm (hovering above zero degrees) that we were perspiring under our winter coats.

But our horses? Despite…

Balmy -14 degrees celsius, or -18 degrees with windchill 🥶

It was going to be sunny and cold, and so I dressed appropriately (long underwear, winterbreeches, and foot warmers... my heated insoles are en route). The beauty of battling -30 degrees is that -18 feels balmy! I kid you not!

We were protected from the wind in the woods, but even on the more open trails it was very tolerable. I thought I might join some friends for a ride today, but at the last minute I bailed to do my own ride. I needed to work on some fast trot sets and I did not want to manage with someone else’s agenda.

So off we went, marching down to the main trail at a good clip. The volunteer groomers had been out again this morning (twice in five days) and we had a glorious snow highway for most of our ride. Q bolted on me twice while cantering (lasting 2 strides) but clearly this horse is fit and needs a job. I caught up with our BO and fellow boarder as we trotted on the way home and they asked me to walk because their horses were winded. I dont think I have ever seem Q wi…

Fluffy ❄️

It was a mild -14 degrees celsius today and I put on my winter breeches without long underwear. I was feeling daring. But all was good as we headed out in about an extra foot of fresh new powder. On top of groomed trails. Everything was light and fluffy!

I went alone, so I got a chance for a few nice canter stretches although Q was still very zippy. It was like I wanted to be a Sunday driver and he wanted to zoom-zoom-zoom like a Formula 1 race car driver. He did not understand one bit why I kept asking him to slow down.

As we started heading back home, he started bouncing when we got to a stretch where we almost always canter. And so, as a result, and with much reminding, we walked back on the buckle. I really can’t stand jigging. A few minutes later a horse was cantering up our ass, so I forgave my overly rambunctious horse for his zeal and we had a lovely ride home. Walking. On the buckle.

Love his radar ears! Where shall we go now?

Even when he is pumped, he does a very nice walk …

Deep Freeze and Sunshine 🌞

As is often the case in winter, when the sun shines the temperatures plummet. When I woke up on Friday morning to the radio announcer warning of -30 degrees celsius, I knew it was going to be rough but bright.

These are the days when old people are warned to stay inside, and children/teenagers are reminded to wear winter coats (and socks, and mittens, and hats ... all the things that make you look uncool). It was definitely frostbite weather.

I had not had a proper ride in a while, but I did not want to dilly dally at the barn and risk losing my motivation for the trail. We had a few extra inches of snow, and the groomers had worked on the trails the evening before. It was promising to be amazing footing.

I dressed in layers, with foot warmers in my boots, and tacked up quickly. We were on the trail in minutes, battling the cold wind blowing across the first field. Yikes! We booted down to the main trail with Q marching like his ass was on fire. I was a little nervous that he might ne…

Bliss in slow motion

It was a lovely mild day and I headed out with my pals for two hours of walking and trotting bliss in the forest. I caught this short moment trotting in slow motion.

To help Q forget his snorting piaffing ways, we did 30 minutes of lunging, 15 minutes of riding trot in the arena ... and then headed out in leading and following positions on the buckle.

Ahhh, nice to get my horse back. ;-)

Gotcha Day

Four years ago today I made a scary decision of offering to purchase a 3 year old untrained andalusian stallion from Florida, sight unseen. It flew in the face of everything I thought about purchasing a horse. It was all business, and based on the breeders understanding of what I wanted to do with the horse. The breeder had 20 colts and fillies of the same age to sell, and my Q was the least dressage flashy and the most in-your-pocket of the bunch. And his conformation made him well suited for working equitation or western riding.

We did fly down to meet Q and the breeder before we had him shipped from Florida to Quebec in the spring. But by then the wire transfers and vet checks were done. It was more like an arranged marriage kind of meeting.

It actually turned out to be smart, because once we got there and saw all the other horses, I was in awe of the tremendous beauties also for sale. Had I not already made and executed on my (rational) choice, I might have made a different choice…

Bail or fail?

Saturday morning with an ice storm on the way. It is raining buckets, and the trails are now trashed for the barefoot ponies for the foreseeable future. Despite the inclement weather, I make the one hour trek to the barn hoping for a fun drill team practice in our indoor arena. A text from our fearless leader of gastro and cancellation pings while Im en route. I proceed regardless.

Once I arrive, I notice the packed parking lot. There will be mucho traffic in the indoor today, I muse. No worries, I manage traffic pretty well with Q.

I tack up quickly, thinking of doing a session with the new hackamore and testing the limits of communication. Fill my pockets with mints and head to the indoor.

Oh. There are three jumps set up. Hmm, ok.

Oh. There are seven other riders coming in. Hmmm, ok.

Oh. Horses are bolting at the backdoor. Hmmm, ok.

Ten minutes in, I realized that this was not the ride I wanted to have. Q was ok, with the occasional scoot when someone else bolted, and a strong aver…