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View Full Version : I think I'm done for the duration... of winter



pintopiaffe
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:03 PM
:cry:

The last few weeks, well, six to eight, really, have been sporadic, but hopeful.

But this 2nd Nor'easter dumped another 4-6" of fresh snow on top of the almost 2 feet we already had... and the kicker is there's a thick layer of ice on top. Horses legs are cut and irritated just in turnout. :cry:

The road is a thick layer of ice. Absolutely not an option.

I could get the trailer *out* but I'll not be able to get it back IN because of packed glaze ice in the low spot of the driveway where I have to pull forward enough to back it in. Somehow I feel like I'm being punished for snowblowing to keep up with the storm--the snowblowed placed just turned into solid ice. The other spots have literally taken me two days of working all day to clear... but there's no ice.

I am so totally, incredibly bummed out right now. We have more snow on the way Thurs'dy. Forecast is "significant accumulation". So the road won't be clear for awhile, unless we get a day in at least the high 20's for the salt and sand to work to get down to bare pavement.

Even then, it looks like the winter is over before it even began. I'll be relegated to riding on the paved road when it's not too icy.

I made a lot of meaningful, if small, progress this fall. I learned a lot. We were getting there.

I really, really just want to cry. I have worked through the iwinter in the past, but it is SO reliant upon Mother Nature. I was so inspired by Lendon Gray's post last winter. I'm not very far from where she grew up and worked through our Maine winters. I have the clothes, I have the dedication, I have the discipline. But I cannot control the footing. And I have NONE of that.

I am really, really crushed. I'm drinking a wee bit of Irish Cream tonight. Tomorrow I will try to focus on working out for me... using the time to work on MY fitness and flexibility... coming back the rest of the way from my summer injury...

For tonight, who'd like to join me in crying in my cup... ??

Hazelnut
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:05 PM
:cry::sadsmile::cry:

dressage72
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:07 PM
I know! :( I feel bad for you! Here in PA it's just so horrible! My barn doors are frozen shut! God forbid for a fire........otherwise they will have to squeeze through the tack room doors! They haven't had turnout in 4-5 days because it's 4 inches of ice and I have a 7 month old can you imagine how NOT good this is for her?!

Is spring HERE yet????!!!!!!

not again
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:07 PM
Time to learn to teach piaffe in the stall!:)

pintopiaffe
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:11 PM
You know, not again, I was scheduled for a lesson yesterday, and MY agenda was to have my teacher show me the work in hand he does. I do some of it. But the stallion 'knows' piaffe with the teacher.

Teacher is in hospital (shame on ME for feeling sorry for myself!) and I am too worried I'll ruin the horse.

Dressage72-- :eek: I don't have full use of all my facility, but that's just scary. We had that during the Ice Storm of '98 . I resorted to using hot water to melt things. It made more of an icy mess in some places, but I got doors open and such. Many, many gallons of hot water... :uhoh:

Daydream Believer
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:30 PM
Awww....Jaeme...I'm sorry! Here I felt put upon to have to ride in 35F and 20 mph winds yesterday...at least I can see the ground and it's not frozen. I will count my blessings. Go hug little Sky. It sounds like she may need a hug too as she was a southern girl until not too long ago. She's probably forgot what grass looks like. ;-) I hope you get a nice thaw soon and can get your riding back in gear soon.

Dinahmare
Dec. 18, 2007, 10:39 PM
We are south of you but still have a good 18-20 inches on the ground. This year we plowed a good part of the arena just to see how it goes. After 3 significant snowfalls and diligent plowing we have a really, really nice hockey arena!!!!

Picture me walking into the barn with my son's old hockey sticks and saying to the ponies "so, who wants to play goalie????"

Maybe, just maybe, if we keep plowing it will give us a jump on spring??? Nah, probably not.

Sabine
Dec. 19, 2007, 01:10 AM
just wanted to send you all some jingles and a good word. Sorry to hear it's so dreadful over where you are...just make the best of it- give your horse a good massage- clean him up beautifully and treat him with all the oils, rubs and creams you've got.
Sometimes nature takes over and that's alright too...but still- hoping for a quick relief and some defrosting...;)

MistyBlue
Dec. 19, 2007, 06:32 AM
The outside footing is horrendous here too. :no: Fortunately my horses are dealing with it fine in turnout. (no riding) Unfortunately I can't find my YakTrax and have taken up the new hobby of waxing the ice with my butt often. :eek:
For melting small areas though (latches, doorways, etc) hit a local hardware store and get a medium sized butane torch and a striker. I have a small and a medium one...they're invaluable in icy weather. :yes: I can melt things easily with those things.

merrygoround
Dec. 19, 2007, 06:42 AM
My sympathies and empathies. It's gonna warm up, maybe the crusts will go. Walkin in the snow , and trottting is great for staying legged up. If the crusts melt.

Snow is a four letter word!!!! :lol: :lol:, but betterthan ice!

not again
Dec. 19, 2007, 07:42 AM
Somewhere around here I have videos of Albert Ostermaier teaching paiffe. He starts in the stall in a halter and teaches the horse to lift each hind leg on cue. It grows from that. He was a wonderful trainer, and did the tape by himself in his barn in Florida, after his wife with ms was put to bed. The tapes are really something, and quite a testimony to the horseman and the man.

WBLover
Dec. 19, 2007, 08:52 AM
I feel your pain, I had just started my boy on a good lunging regime (he's not started yet), when the WETNESS hit. We had a horrible drought all summer, and now we have so much preciptation the ground is a muddy mess and it can't soak it all up. My horse's paddock in the area he hangs out most is ankle deep in mud, and the higher spots that aren't muddy are so soft if I worked him there they'd turn to mud and are slippery.

We've had a few days of snow, but then all the water froze and we had ice, now it's in the 40's here again and it thawed back into mud and we're getting more RAIN later this week. I don't have a barn yet, but thankfully my neighbors are letting me use a stall in their barn just so my boy's feet can dry out once in a while!

I'm pretty much done until spring, too......:(

slc2
Dec. 19, 2007, 09:48 AM
I think the only really guaranteed way to keep consistently working the horses in this sort of weather is to have an indoor arena. I know what that suggests - that a great many people are at a real disadvantage in competing and keeping their horses in work, because they can't afford to put one up. Most of the people I know who have built indoors had a relative in the construction business who gave them a break, or sacrificed a great deal financially to get it done.

This expense is even higher in snow areas because roof trusses have to be so close together, two-three times more trusses may be required and they can be the most costly part of such a building.

And in many cases, it needs to be an indoor arena attached to the barn somehow - several friends have gotten hurt this week just leading their horse to the indoor arena across icey driveways and paths.

Human injury in this weather is really a serious problem and especially for someone who's not so young and flexible, a fall on ice can be very bad.

In a lot of cases the indoor has to double as turnout when the paddocks are so bad. Most people I know who have indoor arenas, are reluctant to get their footing torn up by loose horses tearing around but at times there's not a lot of other options.

Leena
Dec. 19, 2007, 10:30 AM
On my side, I just gave up trying to ride in my ring and I have been lucky to find an indoor nest to my place for 3 months.
Snow is incredible this year; I am not going to fight it !

My horse is having a break until january. That is it.

WBLover
Dec. 19, 2007, 10:34 AM
Yes, unfortunately that's the tradeoff I had to make to have my horse at home--no indoor and no hope of ever having one! Not only because of the expense, but we built on a property that has convenants that we can't have such a large building on it.

I think if I had a nice outdoor sand arena that drains well, I may be able to ride for a bit longer through the winter season. I'll be putting one in next year.

I'm also thinking once he's going well under saddle that I'll board him over the winter months, and maybe put him into full training while he's there. It will help move him along in his training at the same time as being able to keep him in work over the winter.

monstrpony
Dec. 19, 2007, 10:46 AM
I really do feel for you folks dealing with the winter weather. It seems a bit early in the year for it to be this bad, but it's been a crazy year all around.

Take some small consolation from the fact that you were at a good place when this hit. Your horse will be soaking on that good place all winter, so you should be able to pick up where you left off, less the physical conditioning. I know that's not an insignificant factor, just trying to find a small thread of silver in the lining!

Stay warm!!

pintopiaffe
Dec. 19, 2007, 11:08 AM
Take some small consolation from the fact that you were at a good place when this hit. Your horse will be soaking on that good place all winter, so you should be able to pick up where you left off, less the physical conditioning. I know that's not an insignificant factor, just trying to find a small thread of silver in the lining!


Thanks for saying that. I hope it is true.

I LOVE snow. I really do. It is SUPER to ride in. I don't even usually have to feed joint supps in winter. It is GREAT for conditioning. I'm careful, because I don't want them to get short behind if they are worried about footing... but it is really good.

And I also usually *plan* or "allow" for 6-8 weeks or so off, but that is usually from Christmas/New Year's through the end of February. By the end of Feb you usually have really nice days. It still gets cold, we still might have a frigid snap, but days are getting long and the sun is lovely. And it's generally perfect to start legging up.

This borders on ridiculous. Last year it was 12.5" of rain in a time we average 2.5. The snow would be fine, as mentioned, except for the ice crust. Everyone is stocked up from only moving on their little paths in turnout (full, 24/7, and yet their still not moving much. :sigh: ) We're already talking in FEET of snowpack, and the ice on top.

I think the most disappointing part is not even being able to trailer out. The indoor is 45 miles away, and it pretty much is most of the day to do it... but sometime I teach a lesson or two to help defray the expense & time. Win/win. But I can't get the trailer back in the driveway if I take it out right now. THAT is pissing me off. I was SOOOOO careful to keep the trailer clear of snow. (which is important anyway, in case of vet emergency) but in my obsession, I made it worse. That just really seems unfair.

I know, I know, life is not fair.

My guy is a stallion, and short of my teacher's, there's not a place within hours I'd consider boarding him, even if I could afford it. He has NO vices, I don't want him to gain any. He loves being a horse, is turned out with his sons in my little spotty bachelor herd... I even thought of just trailering to the Indoor and leaving him for 2 nights so I could ride him 2 days there... the whole ice/trailer thing.

Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. I really don't hate winter. It is BEAUTIFUL here. Sure, if we get an arctic snap that lasts more than a couple of days it's a pain, but otherwise, I really do like winter. I usually start my babies in the snow. (think about it ;) was just getting steering and baby LY on the gelding, and the filly had worn tack and lunged ONCE.) It's why I live here. I just really had hope of staying in work and really moving forward come spring. :cry:

Perhaps we will try that type of piaffe training. A few years ago we attempted to learn Spanish Walk He already has a tendency toward it. He's smart and will just about lay down and play dead for a lump of sugar. If nothing else, I can teach him the 'pedestal' stand to strengthen/stretch back & haunch.

Thanks for the commisseration & pep talks. :sadsmile:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 19, 2007, 11:11 AM
I feel your pain. Here, the weather hovers so close to freezing that if we don't get ice in the first place, we get snow that melts, and then we have ice.

This is why we have in hand.

Tonight I'll long rein in the indoor. Maybe I'll hop on bareback after that.

I am just so grateful we have an indoor, and I have a trainer who has been teaching me how to work on the ground.

And ps - this is how we started piaffe, too. A great strengthener for the hind end.

Gracie
Dec. 19, 2007, 03:42 PM
Today it is a beautiful blue sky, moderate mid-60 temperature and calm breeze here in north Texas. Where am I? Staring at it through the window of my office!

pintopiaffe
Dec. 20, 2007, 03:24 AM
Gracie... I was *about* to hate you. :lol:

I will say the time I love my shift the most is winter. I am outside in the brightest, warmest part of the day--even when that means snow and clouds... Go to work just about sunset these days. (1600)

I don't know how people who work days do it. Especially this time of year up here. A little over 8 hours of daylight. :dead:

BUT--come Friday, the days start getting longer again!! 8 weeks from now, another hour or two of daylight. YAY!

ClaraLuisa
Dec. 20, 2007, 05:55 PM
I was doing the stiff upper lip thing until today...MORE snow. Now one week without a ride. The mare thinks she's retired. Even going to the barn (a solid 2 hours each way now) in the cold and dark is losing its allure.
I was just starting to be a little less crooked...my back is back to its usual pretzel now for sure.

slc2
Dec. 22, 2007, 08:23 AM
Um...I know this is going to make people very angry, but if you want to work your horses over the winter, and have such an unsuitable setup, could you - change it? I know it can be hard to find boarding stables near to home that are ok to get to in bad weather (I have driven over 100-120 mi a day for years to get to the barn), I know how hard it can be....but if there isn't any possible way to do it or afford it, is it better to just turn the horses out for winter, and not be so unhappy about it, or just try to get a better arrangement to be able to work the horses?

Leena
Dec. 22, 2007, 09:41 AM
For my case, it did let horses out for winter and I was really happy. But this year, I have one that I have not really finish his training and in May I have 2 others to start so finding an indoor it just a way to manage my time and energy.
Also, this is exceptionnal that snow; normally I would have been able to ride and do trails until end of january but this year it is just impossible; we don't have proper equipments to clean that much snow.

pintopiaffe
Dec. 22, 2007, 10:42 AM
Slc, I have trailered out weekly in the past, but with the ice, can get the trailer out, but not back in. Boarding is not an option. Trust me, it would be worth some $$ this year if it was.

They are on 24/7 turnout, and I do normally give in to 6-8 weeks off. It's good for all involved.

BUT, As Lena said, this is exceptional snow this year. WAY early, and WAY MUCH. :sigh: We're already talking snowpack in FEET, and winter just started today. I've always been able to work through at least Christmas, until the last 2 years. Last year I was thinking of building an Ark instead (but still could trailer out) and this year...

There's a big difference between 6-8 weeks off and 4 months off. :cry:

The ice crust and ice is what's really bad. I was really hoping to ride in the moonlight on Sunday night or Christmas Eve, it is the biggest, brightest moon for twenty years.

We have some warming today & tomorrow for the road salt to work, and actually have some rain coming tomorrow. Which SUCKS for the rest of the farm, but *might* clear the roads enough to at least get out on the paved road for walking to keep some miniscule condition.

Since I'm working right through the holidays so people with family nearby can have off... I've let it go for now. After the stupidity that is New Year's, I will really have to organize and start work in hand or SOMETHING.

And yup, when it truly comes down to it, if being competitive was a big enough priority for me, I would move. Southerly, near an indoor, something... I have thought about it quite a bit lately. For ME though, the beauty and rhythms of life on the mountain are exquisitely fulfilling. This is one of the most beautiful winters so far, I do have to admit... My own 8.5 acres of some of the most stunning land on God's earth actually *are* more important, (I guess... right now... ) than dressage. :(

but once in awhile I hanker after progress. We were really getting there. Finally. I do hope it's all stewing in his leetle puffy pinto brain, ready to come back when we can get going.

Reiter
Dec. 22, 2007, 05:07 PM
I'm in California, but born and raised in Germany. I miiiiiss the snow! Some of my foundest memories are of riding in the deeply snowed-in woods. There is something so peaceful and almost otherworldly about the white, snow covered trees, the quiteness of the horses footfalls and the occasional swop of snow sliding of laden branches.
And then... a brisk galopp with snow spraying out under the horses feet, tears coming out of your eyes and a big smile on your face! :D
But I'm reminiscing and I guess this isn't helping all you snowed in people, but if you could post some pictures I would love it! :)

EssentialEQST
Dec. 23, 2007, 02:55 AM
I will never bitch about Houston's summer weather EVER again! You all up north have my deepest sympothies!

Rode my TB today, but sheesh! It was all I could do NOT to get BLOWN off my horse! I swear we had at least 35-40MPH wind gusts every few minutes. He was such a good boy too. Yesterday was shorts and t-shirt weather, right now it's 35 but feels like 25 :eek:!

Sabine
Dec. 23, 2007, 03:15 AM
We had a gorgeous day today- maybe in the upper 60's - totally clear and crisp and nice. And good weather predicted for the next couple of days!!!
But- yes I do not want to live in a cold climate again - ever...talked to my poor mom who lives in Germany and it's minus 10 there and cold and frozen, riding is limited to the covered arena or some very quiet walking on a safe trail...YUCK!

Sorry for all you guys you are so cold right now..but remember there is a time in September around here- when it's so incredibly hot that we are all just paralyzed...it all evens out- but as you get older warm and hot is easier to bear than super cold...at least that's my opinion.

mp
Dec. 23, 2007, 10:58 AM
pintopiaffe ...

Yesterday, I drove 35 miles to the barn in driving snow/sleet to ride. Not counting the barn help, I was one of two people there. I would probably have wimped out, but your thread got me thinking about how lucky I am to have such a great facility to ride in. You inspired me to take advantage of it. So, maybe ... just maybe ... I'll be ready for that show in late March. ;)

Hang in there.

pintopiaffe
Dec. 23, 2007, 11:38 AM
And this is why I only *think* about leaving... and not too often at that...

(they are old, and not NEARLY as much snow as we have right now, but you get the drift... <pun completely acknowledged, needed the groan this morning> :uhoh: )

http://s2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/pintopiaffe/?action=view&current=mountainwalk.jpg
http://www.angelfire.com/me/innisfailte/Pics/jazmtn.jpg
http://www.angelfire.com/me/innisfailte/images/Macsnow.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/misfits/44182231/in/set-72157594406066659/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/misfits/11064931/in/set-1058993/

thats all I can find online. I have many, many more, as it's such a photogenic time.

We are forecast rain today, I am hoping, somehow they are wrong... it will only make things more icey.

petitefilly
Dec. 23, 2007, 03:04 PM
I'm also thinking once he's going well under saddle that I'll board him over the winter months, and maybe put him into full training while he's there. It will help move him along in his training at the same time as being able to keep him in work over the winter.


This is probably your best option. I think the boarding over winter is the way to go, the problem is finding a place to let you stay only four months. I had a problem finding a spot a few years ago and had to go to a less than stellar place. I dealt with it, but by the time you leave you are REALLY READY to go home! :) It is hard for a horse to accept less turnout, none. It has a negative side sometimes, but the training idea is excellent. I wish you much success with that, it will do you both a world of good. :)

Reiter
Dec. 23, 2007, 05:46 PM
And this is why I only *think* about leaving... and not too often at that...

(they are old, and not NEARLY as much snow as we have right now, but you get the drift... <pun completely acknowledged, needed the groan this morning> :uhoh: )

http://s2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/pintopiaffe/?action=view&current=mountainwalk.jpg
http://www.angelfire.com/me/innisfailte/Pics/jazmtn.jpg
http://www.angelfire.com/me/innisfailte/images/Macsnow.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/misfits/44182231/in/set-72157594406066659/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/misfits/11064931/in/set-1058993/

thats all I can find online. I have many, many more, as it's such a photogenic time.

We are forecast rain today, I am hoping, somehow they are wrong... it will only make things more icey.

Thanks! Now I'm really homesick! :sadsmile:
Even the countryside and vegetation looks like where I grew up! Very little fall type coloring here and of course snow is rare and then at the most a dusting!
Enjoy your white X-mas and good luck with the in-hand training!

WBLover
Dec. 23, 2007, 05:51 PM
Well I'm really hoping that since I'd be sending him in for training they are more likely to give me a spot, if they have one! There's more than one barn/trainer around here that I'd be happy sending him to.

I also hope to put in a good outdoor arena that may extend my riding season to further into winter than without one. I certainly don't mind bundling up and braving the cold.

Hilary
Dec. 24, 2007, 07:34 AM
If it makes you feel any better, I don't ride once the footing goes. This year that was Dec. 2. Last year I rode well into January.

I pull their shoes, and turn them out. Around February we both start getting bored, and if I can get the trailer in/out I truck to an indoor a few times, and start legging up on the road. I don't put shoes back on until I know the ice is gone for good.

I envy my friends with indoors, but then again, they tell me they feel compelled to ride no matter how miserable and cold it is because they're paying to board. Does my improvment suffer? Somewhat, but they don't seem to forget that much over the winter, and if they were fit when let down, they pick right back up again. i've competed 2 horses to Preliminary while giving them the winter off. I'm not heading for the olympics, so if it takes me an extra month every year to get back to where I was in the fall? Eh, it's only time.

When my horses do go back to work they are eager for it, and knock wood, have stayed sound and competitive into their late teens and early 20s.

I always find it ironic that i spend more time doing chorse and working in the barn in the winter when I can't ride than in the summer when I can.

slc2
Dec. 24, 2007, 08:00 AM
"but then again, they tell me they feel compelled to ride no matter how miserable and cold it is because they're paying to board"

And you're implying this is somehow - bad?

Picasso
Dec. 24, 2007, 08:33 AM
It was 60 here yesterday, but RAINING! Out footing is muddy, I am hopping for some dry weather soon. I actually moved the horses from my house to a boarding facility for better footing and the word that an indoor would be going up (which I haven't seen happen, but my fingers are crossed and at this point, I love having my trainer right there). I know that isn't an option for everyone, though. Its not cheap, and I get pangs every now and again at night when I look at my empty barn and can't run down in my jammies to say good night to everyone!

Hilary
Dec. 24, 2007, 08:58 AM
re paying board and feeling compelled to ride?

Bad? Not really, but if you feel you have to do something you would really rather not do just now (because it's 5 degrees and you're snug at home and riding would take 5 hours (and in good weather it's only 3) because of the drive, prep time, ride time, cooling out and driving home) then as a comparison to saying "no, I'm not going to ride this month", then it's not necessarily a good thing. Any time you are riding when you don't want to is not going to be a good ride, is it?

You're taking a bit more offense than I intended (Since I intended none). If you want to ride all winter, go ahead. I don't, and sometimes my friends who do and have to pay to do it, say they are a little envious. I save a lot of money over the winter which I can then use during the competition season.

Lisa Cook
Dec. 24, 2007, 09:16 AM
When it comes to riding in the winter, the cold and the dark suck the motivation out of me. The other night it was dark at 4 pm, and I had a 6 pm lesson. It was also 24 degrees out. I had to hook up the trailer while standing in knee deep snow. The whole time I was getting my horse ready, and even on the drive to the lesson I was all "I so do NOT want to ride right now."

THEN....I got on for my lesson, and all that went away. :) My horse jumped better than he ever had before, and I was totally elated about his progress, and I was so glad I went to that lesson.

That is what I go through all winter long. A hard time motivating myself to get on the horse, but then once I get on, life is good and I'm so glad I made myself ride.

pintopiaffe
Dec. 24, 2007, 11:16 AM
well, I am sucking down my cuppa, because I think I at least get to ride on the road today! Merry Christmas!

We had several inches of (flooding) rain last night and incredibly destructive wind. I actually was shocked (pun noted) to have power this morning.

There's quite a bit of ice, but I *think* the road is clear to ride on! YAY! Won't be anything fancy today since we haven't been out but 2x in the last month or so... just a quiet walk up the Johnson Rd and back. There are nice hills though... and the sun is out... YAY! :D

Reiter
Dec. 24, 2007, 11:37 AM
Well, so much for a white x-mas! ;)
It's raining here too and I was planning on getting in a quick ride before we have to take off to the in-laws! I do think I miss more riding days in the summer when it is over 100 degree then in the winter. But that's just me, I hate the heat! :(

pintopiaffe
Dec. 24, 2007, 02:33 PM
:D :D :D

I RODE!!!

Granted, it was a mere 1/2 hour, on roads that are icy in spots...

But the puffypintopony was happy, I was happy, it was LOFFLY! :D

I've no idea what will happen when all the wetness freezes tonight... well, I *have* some idea, but I don't know if the roads will be terribly icy or if I'll at least get a chance to ride more. I hope, hope, hope.

Now, off to work for tonight & tomorrow. :uhoh:

kmgibs4
Dec. 24, 2007, 04:06 PM
You're lucky you can just get on and ride. I could not just get on my horse and expect any sort of sanity (or safety) after even just two days in a stall!! But, on the other hand it is a good test of my seat. My trainer used to describe my horse's "moments" by saying "he has a lot of suspension and is a very flamboyant mover:(" all while holding back peals of laughter!