I am writing you now on the latter end of winter where the daylight has become more lasting and it is no longer dark when I get off work and emerge out of the confines of the barn. The barn doors can be seen open more periodically and a refreshing sight it has become to both human and beast. The month of February was nothing but snow storm after blizzard and nary a day above freezing to eliminate a single flake! I am told this is rather uncommon for these parts, but it mattered not to me since the Midwest has groomed me well. And so being armed with this acclimation and my trusty truck: “you’ve got nothing on me, winter!”
Outside for 11 hours each day, however, produced many painful moments of fingers or toes reaching the point of no return when it came to coldness. Or so it felt. My experiences have proven that when your extremities reach that point they are usually minutes if not moments of warming up for no apparent reason. I can’t explain it. Although I will admit the fingers needed a boost on occasion of submergence under hot water and vigorous rubbing in a towel, or grasping onto the hot water pipes, or sometimes just the simple task of entering the tack room and blowing one’s nose did the trick! I would start out the morning with warm hands in warm gloves, and during the first hour they would turn deathly cold. Sometimes while cleaning stalls they would get so warm I had to take my gloves off for a stall or two, but once riding came around the first 10 minutes in the saddle would be excruciating! After the initial walk break, they would promptly warm up and be completely fine for the remainder of the ride. And yet launching back into afternoon chores they would become unbearable again. And so went my day and everyday. If I only had a dime……
The gross amount of snow footage we received caused the horses to be standing that much higher off the ground and therefore up the fences. The electric wire (not actually emitting any voltage because the ground was so frozen) and the top rail of fencing stood at just the right height for those pesky equine legs to lash out and tear them all down. So when not huddled within the closed doors of the barn, we were outside temporarily restringing wire and tacking up fence rails. Again, if I only had a dime. Thankfully the occasions were few that horses actually exited the paddocks by some other purposeful means than the gates. We would either find a horse in with his neighbor or loose yet with no where to go since the snowbanks provided natural barriers. Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us this spring with all the fence repair to be done.
The heavy winds added an extra challenge. All the snow from one side of the barn roof was lifted up and emitted on the other side creating massive drifts and much concern on our part. With news of building collapses in the area reaching our ears, suddenly I found myself on the rooftop for hours with a shovel. Able only to knock off some footage from the large, disturbing drifts, we soon got some men in to do the job. The deepest part measured 4.5 feet! Naturally, all that snow from the roof was now piled up around the base of the barn and we had the task to shovel out all the doors once again. Yet this time the snow was not fluffy but heavy and well compacted from the drop. The runouts for the horses were reduced to only a space for them to go out, turn around, and be able to go back in the barn. Sorry, ponies. I can’t even count on my fingers the number of times I shoveled out those doors! We also ended up with a snowbank that connected the ground with the rooftop so from then on out a ladder was not needed to access the roof. And the dismount from the roof proved to be a thrill as the snowbank became a slide safely guiding it’s occupants to the bottom. We subsequently lost all light and view through the windows in one side of the indoor, successfully creating the feeling that were riding in a freezer! To me it looked like fluffs of cotton and I felt like I was riding in a Build-a-Bear workshop!
On a progressive note, Pepper is sound and back into full training! He is holding up nicely and the injury seems to be a thing of the past not slowing him down at all. Impressive little Morgan he is! We have started jumping him at the end of every ride and he seems to be enjoying that more than just strict Dressage. As a trainer it is our goal to find what the horses enjoy for we don’t want to sour them to work. With his size we are picturing him becoming a great Pony Club pony for a kid as he can do flat work, jumping, and he loves trail rides! Plus, he is ridiculously good looking and never takes a bad photo! I am so thankful that he recovered from this injury so well and is now jumping toward his future!
With the snowbanks slowly shrinking, bare ground now in sight in some places, and the balls of hair we sweep up after every grooming, spring is on its way to these parts. We will be flooded again after all this melting, that is for sure. I have had a black fly land on the rim of my tea mug, and have already killed several spiders taking the chance at entering my apartment. All signs of spring. I am excited for this upcoming show season, stay tuned for results from those!
We have made it through another winter and have overcome the obstacles it’s thrown at us. My horse and I have recovered from our physical ailments allowing it not to slow us down. It has been just under a year since I was faced with the challenge of finding a new job and moving once again to an unknown territory, single and friendless. I encourage you all to not get bogged down by the obstacles in your life, whether it be personal, career, or spiritual. Seek wisdom and it will find you. One has to make an effort to see results. Sitting by idly will produce no progress, letting what will be, will be. One of the best decisions I have made in my life is to pursue my passion and career by leaving the known and submerging myself into the knowledge only one of experience can provide. My other life changing choice has been to live each day for the Lord, putting off worldly temptations and the fleshly desires for personal advances we all face as fallen beings. We are made in the image of God and therefore should aim to reflect His image and not create a god that reflects our image. Through this and with His guidance, we can overcome any fence put in our path if we only choose to seek Him and fear Him for that is where knowledge and wisdom is found. He will lift you up as on wings of eagles and you can soar over that jump. Stride boldly into the days ahead and fear not, “do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go.” Joshua 1:9
And so now, my friends, I leave you on the brink of brighter days to come and it’s set of challenges. Keep on digging, keep on fixing, and keep on jumping. I will do the same. Rome was not built in a day, and a horse is not trained in a month. Which reminds me…back to it!