It’s Melting

It's melting
After two weeks of deep freeze and a foot of snow, we’ve had three days of warm weather. Today it was more than 50 degrees. The snow that’s left is deep and wet.
Sun bathing
Freedom’s got his happy face on. He just loves the warmer weather. All the horses were glad when I stripped off their blankets and let them enjoy the fresh air.

Zelda and I went out for one more snow day before the rains come and wash the rest of it away. We’ve enjoyed our days of warmth, although none as much as Freedom. He’s had a blissed out look on his face all week. Can you tell that he really hated the cold weather?

Tomorrow and Saturday we are supposed to have heavy rain. Gotta love New England weather. Then it’s back to freezing temperatures again.

I only got two snow rides in, but they were splendid. In fact, they might be enough to last me until next winter!

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Finally Warm Enough to Ride

Nearly 40 degrees
After more than a week of arctic weather, today felt like a gift.

Today the high was nearly 40. That’s a nice contrast to the -10 that I woke up to on Sunday morning. Between the frigid weather, the blizzard and a nasty cold I was starting to forget that snow and horses can also be fun. Since rain is predicted for Friday, getting a few rides in is essential.

The wind carved patterns
Much of the snow was untouched. The wind had carved patterns on the surface and a few animals had wandered through but we laid the first real tracks.

I chose Zelda for the ride. First of all, she has no shoes, which makes her a bit more sure footed (even though Freedom has borium and pads, I think that in deep snow, barefoot works better). Freedom also gets a bit feral when he hasn’t been ridden for so long. Zelda was frisky initially, but trotting through the deep snow cured her of that pretty quickly.

Self portrait
Zelda worked hard on the ride. We did a bit of trotting and cantering but breaking trail when there’s a foot of snow is tough work. I just love the patterns in the snow. It looks almost like sand dunes.
Serenity
The landscape was serene and peaceful. We saw a couple of people snow shoeing, but mostly we had the trails to ourselves.
Winter light
I love how the sun lights up the shed. The warmth is such a contrast to the cold blue of the snow.

A Peaceful Place

Last of the foliage
We’ve had the first real cold snap of winter this week with overnight lows in the teens. Today was a bit warmer and the light illuminated the last of the fall foliage.
A peaceful place
It’s been a stressful week. My father is recovering from a serious fall and every day brings new challenges. I look forward to the quiet time that I can spend with my horses where I can be in the moment and enjoy the quiet of the early evening. While admiring this spectacular silver birch, I heard a barred owl calling in the distance.

 

halloween colors
Although I haven’t had the chance to hunt much this season, I’m grateful to have these trees across the street from the barn.

The reds of Fall

Autumn
This afternoon the air was heavy with the smell of freshly mown hay, tinged with the musty smell of fallen leaves. When I was a child I helped my grandfather rake leaves into large piles and then buried myself in them; the red, yellow and orange glowing like stained glass. Walking through the woods, the perfume sends me back to that time when fall leaves meant hot cocoa, cold noses and dreams that some day I would ride a horse through the woods in the splendor of a New England fall.

Owl Moon

Owl Moon
This was one of my children’s favorite books

When my kids were little they both loved the book Owl Moon by Jane Yoder. In it, a father takes his child (the gender is somewhat ambiguous) owling on a winter’s night.

This evening I left the barn for a short hack just 15 minutes before the sun set. As we walked through the woods, I heard the unmistakable call of a Barred Owl. Zelda and I got as close as we could to the sound, which of course was not on the trail! At one point, we were rewarded by the sound of an answering hoot. Not as deep and not as loud. The two owls talked to each other for several minutes while Zelda and I stood as still as possible in the woods, not wanting to interrupt.

There is definitely something magical about being in the woods in the dark, listening to the crunch of leaves under hoof and being serenaded by the owls.

Sunset
The sun set on the ride back was quite lovely. It was almost dark and, being on a black horse at night, I felt almost invisible!

 

Almost back to Normal

Freedom Hunter Pace
On Sunday, I rode Freedom in a Hunter Pace. So glad he felt good the full seven miles.

Last October, Freedom’s problem with intermittent lameness came to a head. I trailered him an hour an a half to a glorious hunter pace only to find that he was so uncomfortable that I turned around and hacked him home after two miles.

If you’ve been reading along with the blog, you’ll remember that I had his Sacroiliac joints injected. His symptoms were consistent with SI problems — sore back, difficult holding the canter. Unfortunately, the injections and mesotherapy made no difference. I kept him in light work and had him re-evaluated this spring. A new diagnosis emerged: Lyme.

Unsurprisingly, the Doxy made Freedom feel really good. After all, it’s a great anti-inflammatory. I do think it was Lyme because most of the benefits from the treatment stuck. He could canter on both leads and he felt a lot sounder. At least he did for about four miles of conditioning work. After that, he started to feel sore. He didn’t want to canter, he flung his head in the air. He was uncomfortable. [Note: this kind of soreness can come from an ill fitting saddle but I have my saddles fitted every six months, so I was pretty sure that saddle fit wasn’t the problem].

When he had his spring shots, I discussed this with the vet. Before another lameness exam, we decided to try Robaxin, according to Wedgewood pharmacy, Robaxin “is used for the treatment of acute inflammatory and traumatic conditions of the skeletal muscle to reduce muscle spasm and effect striated- muscle relaxation.”

Freedom’s been on Robaxin for about 10 days. He’s felt good for shorter rides and I’ve gradually been increasing the intensity, so yesterday I put it to the test: A seven-mile hunter pace. We moved along at a good pace and jumped the smaller fences. Even at the end he was happily cantering on both leads. I know Robaxin isn’t a long term solution, but it’s nice to have my boy feeling so good again. An added bonus? We came in second!

Hunter Pace
Yesterday’s pace event took us through Adams Woods, which abuts Walden Pond. It’s a lovely territory with views over Fairhaven Bay.

Have any of you had experience with Robaxin?