I had Wicki through two winters. The first was one of the driest on record, so riding was rarely a problem. The second was a massive break to the drought, and he spent several days standing on a platform staying above the flooded pasture. Riding that winter was obviously a challenge! However, with Ben I was lucky enough to board at a stable with an indoor arena. How spoiled I was!
As I sit here, watching news reports of flooded freeways, and having just gazed upon the “land o’ lakes” that was once my arena, I’m
painfully aware of just how spoiled I once was! For eighteen years I never had to worry what the weather was, or how late it got – rain or shine the horses could be exercised. Even when our little herd increased in size, and we rented a small barn down the road, the stable owners generously allowed me the use of the facilities as long as we had at least one boarded there.
And it wasn’t just the indoor arena. We were surrounded on all sides by farm fields. I could ride out in any direction, and go for as long as I liked, well away from traffic. There was a trail course, a small cross country course, a track, a Dressage arena and a large outdoor ring with jumps. It was easy to keep myself and the horses fresh, easily changing the focus on any given day. It also kept us all more fit, with lots of opportunities for jumping and roadwork. Those were the days!
In recent years, we’ve been living on our own property. Admittedly, we were very lucky with this property – it came with a sand arena,
complete with sprinklers and lights. It generally serves us well, when it’s not submerged. Unfortunately, as we are surrounded by busy roads and houses, it is also our only readily available riding space. Any riding out requires a trailer ride – something we are all just a bit rusty at. So, a goal for the coming year will be to become a well traveled troupe!
In the meantime, I will gaze upon the puddle that is my arena and dream of drier days ahead. Being one who tries to make lemonade from lemons, we will use this wet time for bonding and groundwork. It’s also good time to catch up on reading, expanding my knowledge for the riding days ahead. Besides, being a girl from Seattle, I’ve always loved the rain!
Be good to your horses … and stay dry and warm out there!