Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter Work

It seems as if winter arrived this week with quite a vengeance. Now for California, anything below 40 degrees is pretty cold, and it got into the 20s this week! It warmed up a little as the rain started--back up to the 30s at night and high 40s during the day. Br.

With winter comes the annual challenge of getting the horses exercised, but not too hot, blanketed but still keeping them aired out, not to mention staying warm and dry enough ourselves to avoid being miserable out there.

My theory with cold is to not even let it in because once that chill starts, it doesn't let go. The trunk of the car contains many layers of clothing at all times--down, extra socks, jackets, gloves, and the all-important hat. Once dressed, I resemble the Michelin Man just a little, but am warm enough to stand in the round pen while the horses get their exercise.

Of course, if there is riding involved, overheating quickly becomes a factor. All good Californians learn to layer and I am no exception. The trick is really to layer in the appropriate order so stripping is both quick and removes exactly the right amount of insulation.

However, the other thing that happens when the days get shorter and the rain really gets started is a distinct lack of motivation to be out in the dark and dismal weather--and not just on my part. Bar in particular hates the mud and the rain. He will stand under his shelter in the back of his paddock looking out over the mud as if to say, "Can't you make it stop?" He does, however, appreciate getting his blanket off and having a good roll in the round pen this time of year, which is helpful when it comes to convincing him to emerge to do a little work.

But even if it means dancing through the roar of rain on the metal roof every year like they've never heard it before, at least we have the indoor arena so there is a place to let them stretch their legs and get out of the weather.

And some days, maybe even most, motivation wins out over wanting to snuggle under a blanket and get out of the rain.

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