WinterWhile there are some things I really love about winter – the snow, the copious amounts of hot chocolate I feel entitled to drink, and some of those fabulous winter activities – there are also those aspects of the season I dread. Cold weather, freezing rain, slippery ice-coated walkways, and being trapped in an indoor arena for months on end – all things I despise. So it’s no surprise that eventually I get a little grumpy about the fact winter is still kicking around.

This week, I felt the first signs of those dreaded winter blues. I woke up not feeling overly enthusiastic about going for yet another ride in the arena. I dragged my butt out of bed and headed out to the barn anyways. Once there, Luc worked his magic, and within 10 minutes of bringing him inside I was laughing and happy and ready to face several weeks more of winter. That’s the thing with horses isn’t it? They just always seem to have a way of making everything better. At least for me. It wasn’t that Luc did anything in particular. He was just his usual, charming self – nuzzling me, nudging me for treats, and just being a big ole’ cuddle bug.

That continued into our ride, where he really seemed to just want to cuddle with me instead of letting me get on. Not acceptable behaviour I know, but it made me smile none the less. After finally managing to get on, we got down to work. Luc seemed relaxed and happy to do what I asked. He was nice and forward in all three gates, and even his canter seemed to be better. To keep things interesting for both of us, I did some work with a series of trot poles.

Then it was time to do a little jumping. There was a bounce already setup across the short side of the arena. I cantered Luc up to it and it was perhaps the most awful line we’d ever ridden. It had been set short so I came in with a collected gate… apparently I over estimated how collected we needed to be. Luc jumped in, stalled, and then bunny hopped out. Hopefully it didn’t look quite as ugly as it felt, because it felt pretty darn terrible.

Coming around for a second attempt I put a little more leg on and we managed to get in and out smoothly. I think Luc and I still need a little more work on bounces! I ended up calling it a day after the second attempt, mostly because I didn’t want to interrupt the lesson that was just getting underway.

Luc’s loving ways continued when I went to get off, as I got a nicker (those have become very rare and very treasured indeed) and then he leaned around and nuzzled me some more. I’m pretty sure my smile could have lit up the darkest corners of the barn.

That ride set the tone for an amazing rest of the day. Even the mundane chores I had to do seemed more enjoyable. Now if only I could convince my boss to let me bring him into work. I bet I’d be twice as productive. Or, knowing Luc’s love for mischief, perhaps not!