It is Winter now. Here in the Lower Mainland of BC, we do not live in Igloos, or constantly battle snow. Instead, it is is wet. This year is it incredibly, horribly wet. So wet that as I type this, every highway out of the Lower Mainland (except south) is not passable. Several are destroyed, some have mud slides. Lives have been lost. Homes have been lost. People are suffering and displaced. My province is in disarray and I feel for everyone affected by Mother Nature.
Mav and I are high and dry and not currently affected by the flooding, which I am thankful for. Mav would be thankful too, if he understood such things, but life for him is here and now. And now he is dry and happy.
This is normally farmland. It used to be a lake until 1924 when it was drained to create the farmland. It badly wants to be a lake again.
Our main highway to the interior. Several bridges look like this and the road has washed away in many more places.
It is wet. It is also getting colder. Frost appears overnight. When you are wet AND cold, it is not pleasant. We break out our warmest clothing to do horse chores and ride yet we are still cold. I spent time living up north where it was frostbite cold (-25 was normal and -50 not unthinkable). But here it is wet cold, it chills you to the bones.
Mav is an Alberta boy. He is used to cold. He does not care about cold. However, he has already gone slightly soft in that he is very fond of his stall and overhang. Plus, he gets so hairy he is clipped.
He loves being clipped. He stands there without twitching, without concern for the noise or the vibrations. In fact, I am pretty certain he thinks it is a wonderful massage / whole body scratch session.
Last year I tried this blanket clip. I kind of love it. His back stays warm and I do not need a 1/4 sheet. This is slightly comical as I own exactly a zillion 1/4 sheets. Or I should say, Harriette won a zillion sheets. It is also comical because I should probably get him used to a sheet while I am on. I have a sneaking suspicion he will think it is trying to attack him. This is also why I have avoided sheets. It is a vicious circle that I *will* have to break at some point. He already spooks at the sheet put on the door that belongs to uncle Kanje. In fact, he even spooks when the sheet is no longer there.
Furthermore, he spooked at his own blanket hanging on the wall for the first couple of weeks. And last year he spooked / looked suspicious every time a blanket was hung or taken down from the hooks behind him. In fact, he continues to side eye me when I remove his blanket. I am not yet certain if it's "Hey, I was warm with that on and now it is drafty" or if it's "Omg why is part of me coming off?"
So really I can not win and should just pony up and work on that.
I think of Mav as a Friesian type. Yet it is important to remember that he is also half thoroughbred. Most of us would agree that a TB in the winter is not the same as one in the summer. In fact, you could say that about almost every breed But the bottom line is I now have Winter Mav and rides are getting significantly more exciting.
The plus side, is that he is much more rideable this year. I can correct him without the all out panic run across the arena, or the shoulder drop and spin.
We always work on relaxation, larger stride, keeping him out to the bridle, straightness, and staying on. Also attempting to get past whatever in the ring is scary today. He likes to put his energy into finding things to spook at. Keeping his focus is a work in progress. He gets tight and takes teeny up and down steps going nowhere. not that we ever go anywhere other than in various patterns around the ring, but you know what I mean.
He does not need to take these steps. He does not take these steps loose. So therefore, I blame myself and will continue to work on him moving more freely under saddle.
Sunday Runday is a necessity. He usually runs for about 15 min bucking and galloping and big trotting around until he is done. And by done, I mean he stops going so fast. He would keep going for possibly hours. I am so glad this is an option where he is.
A few weeks ago, before it got cold, I thought it might be fun to do some poles. Once a week there are jumps and poles in the ring and I was thinking Mav would enjoy them. He did. I on the other hand, remembered WHY I do not jump anymore. I switch off. Like OMG a pole, stop riding, stop thinking, go blank. This is not conducive to steering, or ensuring young horse knows what on earth we are doing. I nearly hit the dirt twice. Fortunately, Mav saved the day both times and we are no worse for wear. We will, however, stick to trotting poles for the foreseeable future. Now I am aware of the issue in myself, I can work on fixing that. Only 20 years too late to save my jumping career. I am much more suited to Dressage, at least in brain wave function.
This time we made it through and decided that was enough for us.
Trotting poles is much nicer for us right now.
No horse shows until the new year so I am adding some random riding video just to track progress. I also see things in these videos I have already started to fix, like my crookedness which is not helping his crookedness. Also the weird things I do with the left side of my body. And sit down, why do I not sit down? Sorry Amazing Coach for continuing to want to perch up there, I really am working on it!
You can see him Side-eye the much bucket in the corner (out of the frame) at the end of this one. He normally ignores it, but occasionally it appears menacing. Unlike the mounting block which is nearly always out to get us.
He still sometimes wants to duck behind the contact, but it is so much better now I am not too concerned about that right now.
The rest of my horses you ask? I do seem to have a herd now, but it does not feel that way since I only see one regularly. The other two are basically concepts I send money to monthly. One being geriatric and ending out her days living the good life and the other starting her life with the promise of things to come.
Freddie is doing great. She is growing into a big girl! Good thing I already have a very wide saddle. I can not wait to see how she continues to develop. I do not have experience with Andalusians, but she seems to be an interesting mix with the Friesian and I expect to find many good traits of both shining through. Also, she's not yet 2 and look at that tail!
I am so used to riding horses with uphill necks that I am looking forward to this one. Fortunately, she can lower it and does stretch out already by herself so hopefully that translates into less hearing "lower the neck" although my hopes are not high on that one.
FYI The dog in the background is not peeing, he only has 3 legs but gets around amazingly well.
Now Blue, the geriatric. She will soon be 27. She thinks the rain and puddles are possibly the best thing ever. She is also an Alberta girl, but moved here 26 years ago so that hardly counts. Dry and warm are much less important than splashing, although she was reportedly completely dry under the sheet!
Clearly all of my horses are not lacking in personality!