The problem was (and I realized this immediately) that we got so much snow that the trails that we’d kept open were no longer accessible. I might, I realized, be able to get the horses over the now four-foot-high berms. However, the trails themselves would be hard for the horses to negotiate. I suspected that this heralded the end of the winter riding season. The question was, could I wait another month or two before getting any more riding in?
The answer, no, prompted me to seek an alternative. So, I first took Tinni out on an exploratory mission, just around the loop. The plow had come by yesterday afternoon, so the snow was minimal. Pete had said because it was cold (5 F) that the road surface would not be slippery. He also suggested that it would be safe riding along the side, next to the berm, where there was still some snowpack.
I determined that it would be safe to ride. Upon my return, I got steady eddy Hrimmi out and saddled her up. I rode her around the loop and to the Murphy Road turn. We walked and trotted. She seemed to enjoy the outing.
I next took Raudi out. Raudi was a bit more on edge, so I alternated walking and riding her. She did listen to me, and did not, when I dismounted, attempt to make a break for home. As with Hrimmi, she trotted nicely when asked.
Lastly, I got Tyra out. Second verse same as the first. She did not mind the snowmobile that went by us on the road at top speed.
In all three instances, the horses had to deal with slippery sections in the road and also an uneven surface and as well, a drop off where the pavement meets the dirt.
Road riding was a big change for all of us because since November, we’ve spent all our time on the trail. In essence, this was a change of routine. This was good for me because I had to (in a manner of speaking) think on my feet; that is, I had to pay close attention to externals such as snowmobiles, shadows, parked cars, and the uneven terrain. And this was good for the horses too because they had to do the same. We were all less complacent than usual and thus creating new neural pathways.
And what about tomorrow? I’ll of course look for a way to vary the routine because, yes, it’s good for us all.
Next: 72. 3/13/21: Failure