I adore everything about winter. For months I wear the same flushed, ruddy complexion; I see my breath, my horse turns into a fuzzy yak, and the wood stove creates the most perfectly cozy atmosphere. I can smell snow. I love waking up in the middle of the night just knowing it’s there. The world after snow is muffled with an enveloping warmth- a certain deafening silence.

Winter creates challenges when attempting to keep to a riding schedule. Last Thursday-Friday we had a short polar vortex with temperatures down in the single digits; Saturday it snowed and sleeted, Sunday temperatures jumped into the 50’s with rain, and now we’re back down in the high 20’s. Plus side? No mud! Downside? Ring is frozen. With my work schedule, I only see Nakai during the daylight hours on the weekend. On cloudless nights Nakai and I escape to the trails. On nights the ring is too frozen, we trek over to the local BJ’s and use the retention pond as an arena.

The only bummer is that my iPhone detests the cold, draining the battery and shutting off without warning. I have no idea how many miles I’ve ridden in November and December. I also won’t see my fair weather friends until March or April. It was a bit of an adjustment initially as I spent the from 2010-2014 boarding at a facility that had an indoor. Riding every day regardless of weather conditions was nice, but I wouldn’t trade the level of care Nakai’s receiving now for one. Plus, I now have friends who enjoy snow rides too! Before I wasn’t allowed to free lunge, ride in the fields if there was snow, and we weren’t allowed to use the indoor if the weather was nice outside. Now, when the first signs of flurries start it’s a race to the barn, saddling up to ride or grabbing a sled to drive in.

We haven’t had any significant snowfall yet, but I’m crossing my fingers for a white January.

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