Wednesday, January 6, 2016

El Nino and Survival Mode

As some of you might be aware, it's an El Nino year. While that has meant tropical temps and late blooming flowers on the east coast, it has translated to an enormous amount of water here.

On the one hand, we need the water. On the other hand, this is the desert and we're not good at handling it.


Snow. Ice. Cold. Grossness.

What that has translated to on a horsey front is not overly desirable. Turnout has been limited at best--we're at a busy facility with a lot of horses on not a lot of land, so in an effort to preserve grazing, the horses just don't go out when it's wet and gross.

Look, from a land management perspective, I get it. Even from a horse management perspective--I really don't need Courage soaking his feet in the mud.

But from a brain management perspective, it's been really, really difficult. My usually brave, level headed (if opinionated) horse has turned into a legit climbing-the-walls losing-his-marbles monster.
this is a thing now
So instead of working towards our riding goals and building a solid foundation, we've been tackling survival mode. Neither of us needs to get hurt or mad. We just have to figure out how to get through this until life becomes a little more normal.

I keep reminding myself that slowing down/taking time off really never hurt anyone. I have to repeat that about 8792 times a day, especially as I watch Courage do things like this:

WHEEE wait what he can do this on his own now????
Huh. It's obviously not all bad. I can't blame to guy for needing to move around, I'm really quite a big advocate for giving stiff/sore horses time off, and ummmmmmm did anyone else notice how my horse learned to stretch down on his own?

Yeah, he did. I mean. He can stretch under saddle just fine, but it's a new thing for him to offer big stretches in his free time. So that's cool.

And there's other things too. When we're spending non-riding time together, I see stuff like this:
Mr Personality
I'm so used to the OPINIONS I HAZ THEM side of Courage under saddle and trust me, while entertaining, it's also a PITA. Watching them on the ground just cracks me up. This horse oozes ATTITUDE and I'm loving getting to appreciate it without riding through it.

Ok, loving is a slight exaggeration. I really miss riding and I REALLY want to work towards goals and all that, but until we're ready to get back in the swing of things, this isn't all bad.

he sure does look good in tack


  1. So much bounce. Many zooms. Glad nobody is sitting on that...

  2. Good god that's a beautiful horse.

    But do you guys live up there in the north? I can't comprehend.

  3. Look at him move! He looks so thrilled!

  4. We are definitely walking a fine line between fire breathing dragon and good citizen trying to use the marbles he has left. After a few years of working through it we're finally at the point where as long as I don't push too much, Val will do his best to be reasonable, but he also has to get some play time in on the line in order to stay sane during all of this grossness. Hopefully you and Courage can find a similar routine that works for you! At least it looks like maybe he'll work on that top line and stretchiness all on his own?

  5. Wheeee indeed, homeboy got the hops & zooms!
    Hope everything thaws soon and you guys can get back to more saddle time

  6. We have the wet, the cold, the rain, the mud and on some mornings we also have ICE. At least it is only in the water tubs, but damn the luck. We have hit temps in the high teens already this year and likely will in March too. NOT looking forward to that!

    Courage sure looks like he is enjoying some play time. My mares get it and make good use of it too. Rearing, bouncing, bucking zipping around at mach speeds. Fun to watch but not so much to ride. I'll gladly stay on the ground and let them have their fun...

  7. Ugh, yes, we are also doing the racing around the indoor at top speed with extra acrobatics thrown in for funsies right now too, and they're getting out on a regular basis. Frozen, hard ground isn't any fun to romp around on though.

  8. He's a wild man! We're too swamped for turnout too. It helps that Pongo has a paddock but it's not big enough for most schenanigans that would get the energy out. We also don't have an arena to turn out it. Sooo, lots of lunging before riding these days...meh.

  9. I hear ya! SO MUCH SNOW. But we nee it. And I keep telling myself that as I shovel...

  10. Ries got all the feelings without turnout


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