We finished the Platte River Riders season with a family ride at Camp Moses on Sunday. The sun was warm as we unloaded the herd from the trailer, but once we rode into the trees along the trail, the big chill set in. Many of the fifteen riders concluded the ride with cold toes and fingers and a red nose. Steam rose from the horse’s back as they were unsaddled. And we huddled around the fire, sharing soup and other goodies before saying good-bye until next season. Always the optimist, I scan the long-term forecast, desperate for the occasional 50 or 60-degree day with plenty of sunshine and no wind. Perfection in November is hard to find!
I’ve had a couple people mildly interested in the The Black. I’ve also had people I respect encourage me to send him back for “professional help” and work with a trainer on making him the horse I want. If someone gives me a check for him tomorrow, he’s gone. If he is still here come spring, I may opt for the training route. I have months (cold, long months!) to think about it.
I’ve been tempted to board Windy this winter so I would have an indoor arena for riding. But the stable that would be the most convenient has no outdoor runs. Stalling seems to be a wonderful convenience for the owner – I’m experiencing that right now as Windy recovers (although she has a run with the stall). But I’m not convinced I have a happier horse. On Horsetales yesterday, we discussed the pros and cons of stalling 24/7. And I have to ask myself if I would be dedicated enough to ride most nights so that she would get the exercise I feel she needs to keep her happy and I could justify the expense? I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. I wonder how soon Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) will start to set in and I’ll say to heck with my mare’s mental health – and worry about my own and the need to ride!
So what is your winter plans? Do you just curl up in the fetal position and wait until the first tulip blooms to even think about riding or do you steal rides whenever there is a break in the weather. How cold is too cold to ride? I’m also curious if you board your horse and if it has access to a run or not. And what are your thoughts about 24/7 board with occasional arena turnout? As always, your comments can be posted anonymously.