Monday, December 26, 2016
Ice everywhere. That is how it has been the last couple of weeks. We had snow, followed by rain and immediately followed by extreme cold. That left us with a thick layer of ice turned snow--everywhere. We couldn’t even step out of the barn with the horses, let alone go on the trail.
Things started to warm up, and slowly the ice began to melt. On Christmas morning, the driveway was passable. We had checked the hill on foot the day before, and it still needed a little more melting to be safe.
Ellen didn’t plan to take Dante out. When he is barn bound for a while, he needs a good, outdoor turnout to get his brain back where it belongs. The outdoor turnout areas were all ice, so that was out of the question. We didn’t need him running on divoted ice. I was hopeful that I might be able to get Cole out a little bit.
Ellen and I both worked the horses in the arena while Kevin cleaned his stall. He wanted to join me on the hill with Starry. When we were done, I brought Cole out to wait for Kevin. It was about 40 degrees out, which is very comfortable for December.
We got down the driveway with no problem at all. There was enough dry patches that we never stepped a foot on ice. The top of the hill was pretty good, too. Once we got to the slope, it got a little more difficult. Ellen led the way on foot to check for the best parts of the trail. Cole was happy to follow her. She is his favorite trail companion.
When we got to one narrow part of the trail, the trajectory we usually follow was icy. Cole needed to go to the other side of the trail--but we absolutely never go there because it is stony. I told him to move over, and he hesitated. Ellen scooted over to the side and guided Cole to her with hand signals. He knew just what she wanted and stepped right where she pointed, the clear part of the trail was only about a foot wide, but Cole is just a pony, so it was effortless for him.
Behind us, we heard Kevin say he was going to turn around and go back. Starry is the furthest thing from a pony, and Kevin felt it was too risky for the behemoth to squeeze through the narrow opening on the ice.
The rest of the trip down the hill was fairly easy. Ellen and I just guided Cole to the best parts of the trail, and he happily complied. I think he enjoyed being outside, again. The shore of the river was still piled up with huge hunks of ice from the quick thaw a few weeks previously--a sight we typically see only during the spring thaw. There will be no crossing the river unless we get large amounts of rain to flood them all away.
One trip down the hill was enough for us. We turned around and looked up--there was Starry--just where we left him. He didn’t want to go home without Cole, so Kevin let him wait. Going up the hill was easier than going down because Cole could dig his feet into the ground.
Our Christmas ride was a success.