Snow Angels



Yesterday we had snow. Several inches of snow. Today, it’s was all pristine and white. The trees covered with thick layer of sugar icing.

Thursday it was nearly 60 degrees. Yesterday, we had about six inches of snow. Today it was in the high 30s and all that pristine white snow called to me. It was a perfect day to ride.

Crisp blue sky
The sky was crisp and blue and there was just enough snow to make Zelda work.

Zelda and I stayed out of the woods — there was still a lot of snow falling from the trees. Big, heavy pieces of snow and ice. I didn’t make it out until the afternoon, but even then there were great untouched swathes of snow. It’s absolutely irresistible.

Of course it was irresistible to others as well. Zelda didn’t mind the cross country skiers much, but for some reason the snowshoers were very, very scary.

IMG_1680The snow was so wet and heavy that even late in the day, many of the trees were still bent over by the weight of the snow. Some of the same silver birches that shone like a beacon in the sun just a few days ago.


New tracks
We made fresh tracks in the snow. Zelda was pretty fresh herself, a ball of energy.
We rode until Zelda got hot. She has a heavy winter coat and I didn't want her to get too wet.
We rode until Zelda got hot. She has a heavy winter coat and I didn’t want her to get too wet.
Snow angels
Then Zelda made snow angels.

Silver Birches

Hard to believe that I'd be riding the trails and have this view on the first week of February. I've always loved the silver birches.
Hard to believe that I’d be riding the trails and have this view on the first week of February. I’ve always loved the silver birches. As a child I would take the curling papery bark from the ground and pretend it was paper, writing messages to invisible friends. The birch is a symbol of renewal: They are known as “nursery trees” and are the first to grow on land scorched by fire. They are one of the first trees to bloom in the spring and their wood was traditionally used for May poles, to celebrate renewal and rebirth. Druids used birch branches to drive out the spirits of the old year. Funnily enough, Silver Birches are not native to North America. In some states they are considered an invasive species, so quickly do they procreate. But I’m just hoping that on this February day, these white trunks glowing in the sun are the sign of an early spring.

Bravery is Learned. “Practice Your Guts.”

Source: Bravery is Learned. “Practice Your Guts.”

This blog posting is spot on. When George Morris says even he has to practice his guts, you know that it applies to every level rider.

I got similar advice many years ago after I had broken my hand in a jumping accident. I had started riding again but was afraid to jump. She said, “start small — Trot or canter poles on the ground. When that gets boring, make it a cross rail. Do that ten times, a hundred times, or several hundred times. When that gets boring, step up the challenge.”

At the time that happened, I had decided that I would concentrate on dressage. But I got bored. I took her advice.

It took me awhile, but eventually I was jumping again. Not just in a ring, but cross country jumps. I kept practicing and I got braver. Incrementally at first, but it worked.

A few years after that, I started to foxhunt. After I’d broken my hand, it was the last thing I could have imagined doing.

Unfortunately, what I also know is that you must keep practicing those guts because they are easily lost!

Before the ice melts

On a warm day
Between the cold weather and my work, I haven’t had very many chances to ride lately. But yesterday was warm. Warm enough so that the trails were (mostly) not icy but still cold enough that a layer of iridescent ice covers the local ponds. The reflection off the ice was almost blinding it was so bright. Zelda and I had a nice walk with only one really big spook. Those deer are sneaky! It was so rejuvenating to be out in the sunshine and away from my computer screen.

The hard blue light of winter


I love the light in the winter. It's crisp, clean and cold. Even the golden cast of the sun has a blueish tint
I love the light in the winter. It’s crisp, clean and cold. Even the golden cast of the sun has a blueish tint. I haven’t been out riding much because until recently it’s been too cold. After the snow last week, I was able to catch the last of it on an early evening ride.
We got just enough snow to leave tracks. Not enough to make the going hard; not so little that it became icy right away. By the time I got out, the snow was no longer pristine, but it still looked fresh. Freedom was glad to be out exploring. We had a few interesting moments, like when the people removed their cross country skis in front of us, but for the most part he just enjoyed the crisp air and the soft footing.