As I pulled into the barn driveway today, I glanced at the outside temperature gage on my dashboard, and it was 15F. I of course was toasty warm in my car but I wasn’t looking forward to getting out.
The turn out of the horses was delayed this morning because of the extreme frigid temperature, so Alfie was waiting for me in his stall. He greeted me with excitement.
Our barn and arena are not heated, but the building is very insulated. Despite the freezing temps outside, it was about 35 in the barn. I checked Alfie, he was toasty under his blanket.
I bring him out of his stall and I hand walk him in the arena. He had some energy this morning but because of the cold he was stiff, which I expected. I tack him up, he stands perfectly still for me at the mounting block and into the arena we go.
As with any older horse, or person for that matter, Alfie has arthritis. He’s on medication to help alleviate his stiffness but when it’s this cold, it takes him a long time to get his muscles warmed up.
So I figured if he was super stiff our lesson would just be cut short. We worked on serpentines, and did an entire dressage test at a walk. About 40 min into the lesson, I could feel his back end loosen and suddenly he was like, let’s trot mom! So we did. 😊
Alfie’s trot today was great. He was forward, seeked the contact of the bit and I was able to keep him going on the turns. He was so forward and balanced it was like we were floating. And the fact that he made the decision to trot showed me he was feeling good.
I look back at when we first started together as a pair. The struggles were so real. Getting Alfie to just walk was so hard. Trotting was a ridiculous challenge as well. A lot of it was me, a new, inexperienced rider that was hesitant to do anything for fear of hurting him. But the rest of his dislike for moving was physical issues. I think at this point, after 4 1/2 years, I’ve finally “fixed” all of his physical issues. My reward is not just a beautifully moving fit horse, but a happy and healthy one.❤️🐴