The Long Winter
Years ago, I rode in the snow. I even jumped in the snow. My horse wore snow shoes with pads and was incredibly sure footed. Snow actually was a nice break from coping with the frozen solid ground.
I've grown older. The frozen solid ground is harder and the cold air gets into my bones.
To top it off, my horses are totally out of shape. Two are barefoot, which is good in the snow, and Tucker has shoes with snow pads. But I'm not even trying to ride.
Do I have excuses? Not really. Going out on the trail is problematic, however. To get to any of my trails I need to ride through the woods for a fair piece. The trouble with the snow out there is that it's impossible to see the fallen trees and branches underfoot. I once had a serious problem with PJ when he stepped on a fallen branch and got his leg trapped in it. It was as close to panic as I've been in a long time as I struggled to free him from a very tightly wedged situation. Fortunately, he had the good sense not to struggle at all, and just patiently stood there until, with every ounce of strength I had, I got him free. Bless his heart, because it was a broken leg situation just waiting to happen.
Since then, I've been really wary about taking that kind of risk again.
So that leaves the riding arena. There, at least, I know there are no wayward branches underfoot.
I'm not that eager to ride. "Back in the day," keeping my horses fit for the upcoming competition season was really important. Today, with no plans to compete, it really doesn't matter too much.
While I'm just happy to go out on a nice trail ride or do some moderate training in the arena, there just isn't the old motivation left. Toby is semi-retired--although he's keen to go out adventuring. Tucker is not the safest horse to hack out, but I hope to try some remedial work with him this Spring. And Chance? While he does need some more schooling, he's just fun to ride out into the wilds.....well, as wild as suburban NJ can be. (I do have a 1500 acre State Park behind me, and across the next road, some other County preserved lands with acres more to ride in.)
So, no excuses here. Until the snow finishes melting and the ice underneath becomes just a memory, I'm staying out of the saddle.
Jean the riding wimp. I'd never have believed it years ago.