I need a gym buddy

I know that I need to get to the gym more often. I need a gym buddy to encourage me.

 

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Bribery is everything

Looking hopeful
Zelda looked hopeful when I arrived at the barn. It was close enough to dinner time that she assumed that was why I was there.
catch me if you can
Once she figured out I was there to — gasp — ride, she decided to play hard to get.
Bribery
The snow was too deep for me to chase her. I resorted to bribery. The bait? A single, small hay cube. At first, she looked skeptical.
Caught
Miraculously, it worked. Zelda cannot resist a snack. Even a small one.

A roll for all

Snow roll
Riding in the snow is a lot of work. Freedom was really steaming when we came back from our ride. he could barely wait until I got his tack off before he had a good roll. It put me in mind of people who jump into the snow after a sauna. There is something very amusing about watching the horses roll!

 

Willow roll
It must have looked pretty good because Willow had to roll in the same place! Why is it that horses find a special rolling place?

 

Zelda rolling in the snow
Zelda always rolls after a ride but she took special pleasure in this one. She’s been wearing a blanket for the past few days so it must have felt particularly good to feel the snow on her back.

A Perfect Snow Day

A great expanse of snow
Looking out over the pristine snow on a sunny winter day. Where to start?

I finally found my motivation. Today’s warmer temperatures and bright sun revealed that it was just in hibernation.

There was a wide expanse of untouched, pristine snow just waiting for hoof prints and I had two horses who were willing to oblige. The snow was deep but fluffy, there wasn’t a hint of wind, and the only sound was the soft swishing of hooves. Zeda and I had a good canter on the trails. It was like riding through a cloud!

We are likely going to have only one perfect day as rain is forecast for tomorrow. I’m so glad I could take advantage of today.

Zelda Tracks
These are Zelda tracks. She left a wake of snow behind her.

Self Portrait in Snow

Freedom in the snow
Freedom got a good work out in the snow, too. We did some hill work to build up his hind end. Riding in deep snow is like doing constant cavaletti!

I’ve misplaced my motivation

Zelda in the snow
Zelda seems less perturbed by the cold weather. Even the icicles hanging from her mane don’t bother her.

I am in awe of my friends who have kept up their riding this winter. I see photos of them in the snow and I shiver — it’s hard for me to ride when it’s less than 20 degrees so instead, I’ve been hibernating in front of the fireplace and dreaming of spring. Or maybe of going south for the winter. It’s all those darned Facebook pictures of people having fun in Aiken that are getting to me!

I’ve looked for my motivation. It’s not hiding under the blankets at the barn . . . or in the tack room. I’m hoping that I can find it in time to get at least one ride in the new snow that fell this weekend before it gets ruined with rain. And I’m going to track down some indoor space that I can rent from a local barn so that I can start getting my mojo back. And get my horses back in shape.

The horses don’t mind. They are tucked up in their blankets but out 24/7. Icicles drip from their manes and while they’ve spent some time in their run in sheds when it’s windy, for the most part they are enjoying the snow.

Anyone else need to get back in the saddle?

Race Horses and SI Issues

Buying an Ex-racehorse
This is a very interesting article that talks about some of the issues that ex-racehorses can face. Not all injuries are career ending, but racing certainly takes its toll. This is a great read for someone interested in OTTBs. Read the article by clicking on the photo.
Freedom when I first got him
When I first got Freedom he had no muscle. Look at that skinny neck! He didn’t thrive in his first non-racing home which is why he ended up at my barn.

Freedom has been remarkably sound over the 12 years that I’ve owned him. Yes, I brought him home in early 2005, thinking that I would foster him for just a few months. He was a skinny, nervous horse that didn’t have much idea of how to be a riding horse.

Freedom came off the track with an apical sesamoid fracture that had been rehabbed. However, it turns out that SI pain is pretty typical for racehorses.

This problem really is the number one [issue], as every ex-racehorse has damage to the ligaments in this area.

Here is Freedom's CANTER listing. He looked a lot more like himself here.
Here is Freedom’s CANTER listing. He looked a lot more like himself — in better weight and muscled up.

The fact that Freedom showed no SI problems until last year is impressive. As a TB he’s officially now 19 and it’s very possible that he’s having some other joint pain as well. Overall he’s quite a balanced horse who has managed to use his body correctly and keep himself sound. He had 28 starts as a racehorse, retiring when he was six.

We haven’t given up. In between the snowflakes I’m still working on conditioning for both mind and body, waiting until the footing is good enough for the next lameness exam and hoping he’ll feel better in the spring.

New England Nor’Easter

snow from Nor'easter
Today was a snow day. A day for sitting by the fire place and watching the swirling flakes obliterate the grass. About a foot of snow fell throughout the day, making a mockery of the 50 degree temperatures we had yesterday. That is what it means to live in New England. This photo wasn’t from today, but rather from two years ago when we had a February full of snow storms after a relatively snowless December and January. I hope that this February doesn’t turn out the same way. Tonight the temperatures are going down to the single digits; the poor horses won’t know what to expect next. Yesterday they were overheating; today they are bundled up in their blankets trying to stay warm!