Winter is not my favorite month—shorter days mean my time at the barn is in the dark for five out of the seven days in a week, cold temperatures limit riding, and my truck is awful in snow (who decided that an extended bed truck should be front-wheel drive?!). As drab as the colder months are and as grumpy as they make me, there are a few things I liked this winter.
As you probably know by now, Ax and I moved at the beginning of 2017 and are in love with the new barn. The facility has exactly what I wanted and most importantly, they take amazing care of Ax. I’m pretty sure the barn owner could tell me if he sneezed wrong, which makes me feel better on days when I can’t get up to the barn because of work, weather, or whatever.
I’m a firm believer in not riding when the “real feel” is below 20°—if the air hurts my lungs then I assume it’ll hurt my horse’s—and because of that, my riding time gets cut back in the dead of winter. This year, the lack of work seems to be doing Ax well. Instead of riding a lot and only having some be “good rides,” I have been riding less and having more “great rides.” Quality over quantity.
When I do ride, I have been able to take a few lessons now that we are at a barn that has an instructor. I’ve only had a few so far, but it already feels like Ax and I are getting back on the right track.
Back On Track Fleece Blanket
Love, love, love Back On Track products. Since clipping Ax super short this winter, I’ve made sure to keep a blanket or cooler on him at all times when it is chilly. This has been what I grab to keep on him during grooming, tacking up, and untacking not only to keep him warm but to get his muscles loose before and after my ride. Plus, with the indoor at the new barn not being connected to the barn, this has been my go-to for tossing on for the walk down to the ring.
Gel-Eze Under Bandage
Ax has filled out quite a bit since I bought my saddle and it is in need of a little reflocking by the shoulders to keep it from sliding back. (Thankfully it fits him great in every other aspect except the slippage). I tried quite a few different non-slip tactics and this rubbery blue thing is by far the best—it has kept my saddle in place on his sassiest winter days.
Rambo Supreme Heavyweight Blanket
I was a little worried about keeping Ax warm on those single digit days after shearing him like a sheep and anticipating having to layer blankets on him like a lasagna. (Thankfully I have a blanket-buying addiction.) But this was all he needed. It kept him toasty warm on the coldest, windy days this winter and still looks brand new.
Happy Mouth Loose Ring Snaffle
After discussing my issues with finding a bit that Ax loves and would happily maintain contact in at my first lesson, W suggested trying a loose ring snaffle. I picked it up in a double-jointed Happy Mouth (his favorite), but wasn’t too sure that it would make much of a difference. I’m still slightly convinced it is a fluke and the equitation princess inside me thinks it is weird to not have a D-ring, but Ax seems to love it so far and is going pretty great in it.
L.L. Bean Boots with Thinsulate
The fake version of these were in my Fall Favorites, but the boyfriend bought me the real ones as an early Christmas present and they have been lifesavers when it came to keeping my toes from falling off. I wore nothing else (except my tall boots) for the first two months that I had them.
Mophie Juice Pack Plus
This was a random purchase from Marshall’s (yay for discounts on things because of a discontinued color) and it has kept my phone alive so many times when it should have died, meaning I could take more pictures of my horse and cat. Anything that can wirelessly charge my phone by 120% is a good thing.
I use this term loosely as I am far from a photographer. Since buying a new camera lens around Christmastime I have been playing around with it to figure it out. So far, we have only been to the barn, the zoo, and a beach polo match, but I have come away with some photos I love.
Is it spring yet?!