You know how I mentioned earlier that there’s a temperature when it just becomes too cold for me to ride? Well this week we came pretty darn close. With the mercury flirting with minus 30 degree Celsius, I wasn’t sure my fingers and toes could survive a ride – even a short one. But I geared up and headed out to the barn anyway.
I’m amazed Luc even recognized me as I waddled up to his field, what with all the extra padding. Between the winter breeches, long johns and snow pants coupled with the thermal shirt, sweater and jacket, I was channeling my inner Michelin man. One good push and I’m sure I would have toppled right over. Thankfully Luc was too interested in the fact that I was there to bring him inside to pull some of his usual antics, which routinely include a rousing game of bite the halter and don’t let go so you can’t get it on.
It was so cold out that Luc had icicles dangling from him his nose, his whiskers were frozen and his blue blanket was covered in white patches. You could even see the frost that had formed on his neck! We hurried, well as much as you can when you’re wearing every piece of clothing you own, into the heated area of the barn to groom and tack up. Luc’s owner Jen very nicely took care of Luc while I went to work stripping off layers so I wouldn’t over heat and get all sweaty and gross before I even started riding. It’s a toss-up who finished their task first – but I’m pretty sure it was her. Getting out of all that clothing was hard work!
Now wearing an appropriate amount of clothing to ride in (because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get on in snow pants even if I wanted to), I headed into the arena. Err, well not quite. I tried to get into the arena, but the door just wouldn’t’ budge. So I tried a little harder. Then I braced myself against the door and pulled as hard as I could. Nope. That darn door still wouldn’t budge.
The fact that the arena door was completely frozen shut may have been to some a sign that yes, it was too cold to ride. Not for me. I didn’t go to all the trouble of watching Jen tack Luc up just to have to untack him without ever getting on. So I put my jacket back on (leaving the other layers off) and then outside we went. Did I mention it was even colder outside because of the extreme wind chill?
The one upside of heading outside was that I got to use Luc’s fancy new quarter sheet, which also doubled as a leg warmer for me. He looks so handsome in it! I trudged over to the ice covered picnic table, Luc crunching through the hard crusty snow beside me, and attempted to mount up. It only took me three tries to get Luc to stand still.
Perhaps I should have mentioned one key piece of information earlier. You see, my sister (Luc’s owner Jen), may have been trying to kill me this week. She’d given Luc the entire week off due to even colder temperatures and her coming down with a nasty cold (yes, she was still sick when I went to ride, and yes, I still made her tack my horse up for me – bad I know!).
That might have been the reason why it felt like I was sitting on a ticking time bomb for my entire ride. Which by the way only lasted about 10 minutes. It was too icy and hard to ride in the outdoor ring, so I settled for walking Luc up and down the driveway. We made it most of the way down and back. Once. Between the cold, the snow, the ice, the dogs (of which Luc is afraid), the scary, scary house (of which Luc is terrified), and pretty much everything else outside that seemed to be out to get him, I just didn’t trust Luc not to be an idiot. Better to keep the ride short and survive than try to stay out longer and suffer from frostbite, or have a horse spook and slip and fall.
So while this week’s ride was incredibly short, it was also an entertaining kind of day. Because now I know to always check the arena door in the winter before bringing the horse inside, tacking him up and taking off all your extra layers!