Hoof Prints in the Snow and Other Simple Pleasures

It’s been pretty quiet here lately in my backyard. Winter is usually that way for me. The season is a good time to focus on the simple pleasures around me since the big pleasure of riding at home is mostly off the table.

Simple pleasures like walking out in the morning darkness and noticing the sparkling stars overhead as I stroll towards the barn. Sensing the stirrings of wildlife as they finish up their nocturnal activities before dawn. Hearing the horses munch, munch, much their breakfast hay.

Later in the day, I might focus on the chattering of birds as I head out to greet my horses again. Noticing any hoof print impressions laid down on top of freshly fallen snow. Grateful for the days when the afternoon sun finally shines brightly, eventually melting away that snow and making everything feel warmer.

It’s easy to ignore the small stuff. To take it all for granted. But one day when I don’t have horses in my backyard. Or a backyard at all. I will miss all this. Best to appreciate what is right in front of me now, even as I am simultaneously bummed about the lack of riding opportunities during Winter.

I’ve also noticed that with the gradual increase in daylight hours, Shiloh and Piper are starting to shed their Winter coats! Not an excessive amount. That will come later. But seeing some extra hairs on the horse brushes reminds me of better weather to come.

I excitedly present to you Shiloh’s brush on the left and Piper’s curry on the right:

Outside of my backyard, I’ve been taking riding lessons on lesson horses at a local barn since the tail end of November. The barn has an indoor arena. But during January, I only got in two rides. And so far in February, just one.

The protection of the indoor arena notwithstanding, I find that the cold and humidity now make it difficult for me to ride. It didn’t use to be that way. But now, even with the daily exercise of barn chores and targeted stretching exercises, I feel super stiff when the temperature dips below freezing.

On those days, my riding ability diminishes right along with the weather forecast. I’d rather spare the sainted lesson horses the grief of packing stiff-as-a-board me around. Trying to push through just doesn’t seem to contribute toward my riding progress.

Interestingly, we’ve had plenty of above-freezing days in my area. But it seems like every time my lesson day rolls around, the temperatures take a rapid nosedive! And I end up canceling my lesson. The pattern would be funny if it weren’t so disappointing.

Lord willing, even periodic lessons will help me retain enough of my riding muscle memory so I can go back to safely riding my horse, Shiloh, come Spring. In a future post, I plan to show readers what I’ve been doing with my horses at home in preparation.

In the meantime, I’ll keep looking to appreciate all those simple pleasures in my life. Remembering to savor horse hair on brushes and pretty hoof prints in the snow.

5 thoughts on “Hoof Prints in the Snow and Other Simple Pleasures

  1. I think grace and joy come to us in the small things. Winter is time for hibernation. I also struggle to ride in the winter. We trailer out to lessons at at an indoor, but with the alternating mud and ice, it is hard to ride at my own barn. If it is warm, and we have company, there we occasionally trailer out to parks where the footing is better. But even so, it is not enough. My 20 year old pony and my senior body have lost muscle tone and memory. Spring always feels like a start over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great that you are able to get out to ride a bit during Winter, even if it is not as much as you would like to otherwise. I enjoyed the photos you posted on your blog of your recent Winter trail ride. How cool is that! I know what you mean about the difficulty of starting over in the Spring and how the difficulty can be magnified as the horse and/or rider age. None of us are getting any younger I guess. Best to enjoy what we can, while we can, whether big things or small!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anne. I know you know the disappointment involved in having your riding plans derailed. What a lovely opportunity for you and your horse to enjoy the warm environs of Florida once again. It must a real treat to go down there and ditch Winter! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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