Freedom’s Clip Job

Freedom's Clip Face
This is what Freedom thinks about getting clipped. He loves it!

Freedom’s a funny horse. He doesn’t really like being touched or groomed. He can put the fear of God into his massage therapist and don’t even think about sticking an acupuncture needle into him.

Clipping Freedom
Usually I ground tie him outside when clipping. He doesn’t need to be tied.

But he loves getting clipped.

This afternoon, after three days of temperatures in the high 60s, I decided to clip him. I parked him in the back paddock. He doesn’t need to be tied and I like to clip outside where the light is better and the hair blows away. He doesn’t even need hay. It’s one of the only times that he stands absolutely still.

I think the clippers tickle him because he will reach around and nudge me when I get to certain spots. My philosophy is always to start with just a low trace clip and then take more. Freedom is patient and when I stop, he starts to yawn, lick and chew. Exactly what I would hope to see after a massage.

Happy face
Freedom shows all the signs of relaxation and release when I finish the first side.

 

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The Great Melt

Beautiful afternoon light
The late afternoon light set everything aglow. We don’t get many days where its warm enough to ride in shirt sleeves and there is snow on the ground!

Hard to believe that after the bitter temperatures that we had last week that today it was 55 degrees and sunny! Already the snow is starting to melt and it’s heavy and dense, not light and fluffy. It’s pretty hard going so today the horses and I took it easy and just enjoyed the warmth and the beautiful light.

Shadowland
Freedom hasn’t had a good off property hack in awhile. He enjoyed his snowy hack.
shadowland
Freedom hasn’t had a good hack off property in awhile. He really enjoyed his snowy ride.

Glowing in the sun
Freedom always glows in the sun. There’s nothing like a chestnut thoroughbred!
Heavy snow
Zelda complained that the snow was heavier and more difficult to move through than it has been. But she still gave me a couple of good bucks when she wanted to canter.

Sunset
On the way home we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

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?