Mel is enjoying her winter break. She is all fuzzed out, with a respectable hay belly and, consequently, an "I'd rather be napping" attitude. The past several days have been RAINY.
I did take her out for a ride after two consecutive days of heavy rainfall and found her a bit stiff starting out. After about 10-15min she did loosen up and so I decided to just focus on riding her straight and forward thru the smoothest possible transitions in all three gaits. (We don't have a finished outdoor arena, so it's all outside trails or dirt roads for riding here.) Since the trails were still under water, we are reduced to the dirt roads. By the end of the ride, she had put in a nice effort cantering uphill and I was feeling ok about some of the sitting trot we had done.
So, December, here we are. In the limbo that is "giving my horse down time" vs. "wanting to keep my horse stretched out and happy". She gets noticably cranky after day three of no work and begins to look at me quizzically. It would be different if I had a large field for her to galavant around in for a month or so...but, alas, we don't. Her dry lot is relatively small, and even if it were larger she is not the kind of horse that is prone to self-exercise. She's a minimalist. Eat. Nap. Poo. Repeat.
I find myself struggling with my "inner trainer" when on these December hacks:
Should I be doing more work in collection? Should I be doing ANY work in collection? Or, does she get to hack on the buckle, of course, because this is "her time" and SHAME on me for even THINKING about collection right now. Sit there and enjoy the view! It's December! Nobody is going down centerline anytime soon. :) And then there's the jumping worries: "Please don't forget, please don't forget...don't be ridiculous. Jumping's her favorite. She won't forget. ...please don't forget..." Craziness. Winter madness is already setting in.
Then I remember to breathe. I take in the view out on the trails. I think of what Mel would probably advise, and it would go something like: "I've already told you, I've got this. Quiet. Enjoy the ride. Go eat. Go relax. Then, ask me again in March or April. I'll be there. Game on."
And, honestly, I know she will be there. She's a cocky, competitive mare. And I love her for it.