Despite the fridgid temps and my car about to fall apart and being stressed about getting the money to fix it, I managed to get my bum to the barn yesterday and ride my pony. Ofcourse it was only about 15 degrees and the wind was whipping. Luckily it was about 10 degrees warmer in the indoor with no wind. I went about my usual routine. Since Possum's paddock is on the side of the driveway, I pull over and park and whistle to him and he comes over to the fence. I open the gate and let him out loose and then get back in my car and drive to the parking lot. This gives my horse time to pick up loose scraps of hay around the outside of the paddock while I go and set up the brushes, maybe visit with some people and then grab his halter and go get him. I always like to give him a few minutes of free time before I go and get him to ride, I think it just makes him happier, or maybe just me, who knows.
So I groomed and tacked him up in record time in the main barn since it was soooo cold. So e made our way to the indoor and refuge from the wind. I hopped right on and away we went at a walk. When I first get on my horse is the time of when I asess how he's feeling and his energy level, I can tell at once how the ride is going to be based on those factors. He had a spring in is step and was well in front of my leg so I was happy that this looked to be a promising ride. After our normal warm-up routine, walking for 10 min or so and then trotting in both directions for another 10 min and then cantering both directions for another 10 min or so. During the warm-up I worked on some shoulder in and leg yielding just to get his body warmed up and more pliable, as much as possum can be. We then trotted a few crossrails and went right into the meat of our work out. I asked him to trot some fences that were around 2'9 or 3ft, asking him to get in deep to them and really making an effort to snap his knees up and using his neck and back for a nice clean jump. Only once did he knock it down and I really think he just misjudged the height of the fence and knocked it a good one so much so that he tripped on the landing. No need to reprimand him on that one because I think he got the hint and the next time we jumped it he made sure to clear it by a large margin.
As were were cantering some fences and putting mini courses together, a boarder at our barn was riding her QH mare at the same time. On a walk break both Possum and I were puffing and the woman made the comment that it looked like I wasn't having to work as hard keeping him at a normal pace and put together. My eyes about bugged out of my head when she said that. You have no idea how much that means even for one person to say that. Possum is not an easy horse to ride and make it look pretty. He's hard to keep packaged together and moving in a balanced manner. I usually use the analogy that he's like driving a dump truck on a highway of sleek moving Mercedes and Audi's. Hearing that comment was nice because it meant that all the hard work we'er been putting in lately is starting to pay off, even if one person notices it, it's working. We finished up by jumping a small course of about 6 jumps and then cooled out. After a few walk laps around the arena I had the bright idea of walking around outside along the paddocks and making a loop back to the main barn to untack. Big mistake, when we made it back to the barn my feet were frozen, I couldn't feel my ears and my face was wind burnt. I untacked Possum and gave him a few treats for a job well done and then bundled him back up in his blankets and threw him outside.
So to conclude....it's rare that Possum and I get compliments of any kind, but when it happens around a specific area that I have been working so hard on, it feels like I just won the lottery. Even though this year it looks like we will be doing very few shows because of finances, it's nice to know that we are still working towards a goal and slowly taking small bites towards that goal. It was like a breath of fresh air blew on us and filled our tanks of otivation so that we can keep going in our education.