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You will please restrict your remarks to the weather.

Happy New Year! 2022 has arrived leaving me wondering where 2021 went. It’s a bit of a blur. With no outings and nothing exciting happening, we turn to mundane discussions about the weather.

Winter has hit us this year. HARD. We were kind of expecting it since we had crazy 40 degree (that is 104+ for any Americans out there) weather last summer and we tend to have extreme winter after an extreme summer. Despite kind of expecting it, we do not like it nor do we want it.

Mav however? He thinks it is great. It is much more like the winters he knew growing up without the -50. We got down to -20 Windchill which was bad enough but he takes it all in stride.

MOM, don't take my picture I just woke up. Clearly he had not had time to get his hair done yet.

He continues to enjoy the far end of his paddock in the hopes someone will take him out that back gate. Out that back gate is everything nice such as grazing on grass and field turn out. He rarely goes out that gate these days since there is no available grass but he continues to hope.

During the worst of it, we were permitted free ring time. Like Sunday Run-day but everyday! Even I do not like riding in -10. I will ride in most conditions, but not that.

He enjoys his run days.

Everyday he came in looking like this. New way to ice feet and ankles? He gets ice balls on his quasi feathers which are hard to brush off. Yet I do not really want to clip his legs again until it warms up. I feel like the light feathering likely protects his skin.

For Christmas, he got a shiny new heated water tub. They only use them when it is very cold, but for these few days a year they are amazing to have and save Mav's slaves (aka the stupendous barn staff) a significant amount of work. The barn has cut perfect sized holes at the bottom corner of the stalls to safely plug these in on the outside of the stalls. They think

of everything!

Run days look like this. Lots of this.

We have managed to sneak lessons in-between the harsh weather days. although I have never postponed so many lessons ever. The road the barn is on is one of the last to be plowed and can be kind of sketchy if you do not have a 4x4 truck. The last thing I want is my Amazing Coach getting injured because I made her come for a lesson in horrific icy and snowy conditions. Regardless, I continue to ride consistently and work towards our lofty goals. These are not overly lofty for the upcoming year, but in general I aim high and despite what the odd person may think, none of it comes easy. Everything achieved is from hard work and perseverance.

Mav has been working on suppling his body. He gets very tight and locks up everywhere. When he blocks, he literally can only take small up and down steps going nowhere and achieving nothing. So I have been working hard to unlock his neck and back and get him stepping through with both hind legs. Some days I am more successful than others, but in general he is improving greatly and has been remarkably rideable this winter. If I compare to a year ago, he was barely cantering in control and was behind the contact basically always. Now he will go out to it, lengthen his frame and is starting to step through behind As well as being downright civilized. None of these videos show this terribly well, mostly he has been tight on video and lesson days since we both get pushed out of our comfort zone. This is entirely necessary, but currently creates tension in both of us.

His lateral work is coming. Slowly.

On a complete tangent, his hoof is still busy growing out. At the 4 months mark it is a weird indent. The hoof above is not 100% normal, but is not significantly abnormal either. You can see it more in the pictures than in real life, but I do not think it will be a major issue moving forward. We still do not know if he will need shoes to support his foot when it gets to the bottom stage of growing out but we will deal with that when we need to. At this rate we should know in a farrier visit rotation or 2. I’m not against shoes, but it’s an added expense on an already stretched budget and he has really good feet.

On the cold days, both cats hang out in the tack room for visiting. I enjoy visiting with them to get my cat fix. Plus, it’s warmer in there so always a good place to be on a cold day.

Mavs Sarcoid continues to be basically gone. There may be a tiny area of not completely normal skin under the hair, so I continue to treat him with the Immune Builder every couple of days. I’ll be super interested to see it in the spring when he sheds out.

It’s a new year and things continue to march on in a forward direction. I’ll continue to work hard, get my butt in the tack daily and fight for every step of improvement. Here’s to 2022!

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