I think my face has thawed. Pretty sure most of the feeling has returned, but it's windburned and red today.
Two hours out in the cold wind yesterday morning. Two hours of riding the farm roads down in the bottoms and hurrying to the next turn in the road so the wind would be at our backs, not blasting our faces and numbing our ears, cheeks and chins.
Two hours with two horses who couldn't decide if they wanted to have a plod along ride or a sitting-on-dynamite ride so they gave us both, equally.
And it was fun. Gabe and Teddy are so funny when we take them out together, they are like bi-polar psychics. One moment both are plodding along as Jacquie and I work work work to just get a decent forward walk. The next moment, as if on cue, both horses are FORWARD and silly, wanting to move as fast as we will let them go, trying to race each other while we keep them from getting too insane and out of control.
Gabe gives me the move beautiful extended trots on these trail rides, extended trots I wish I could achieve in the arena. I'd be pleased as punch with half a dozen good extended trot strides in the arena, but I can't even get one similar to what he offers freely on the trail. Those extended trots are HARD to ride, I can neither post nor sit it, so I hover in a half-seat, and work to just get out of his way as his back lifts, his shoulders LIFT! and so much power comes from behind I feel like I'm riding a jet engine. Jacquie says he looks amazing and powerful, I can only attest that if he looks anything like what I feel in the saddle, he could take your breath away.
The feeling is incredible as the wind pounds my face and rushes through the air vents in my helmet (who thought THAT was a good idea for winter riding? Ugh! Nothing like cold air rushing in concentrated streams onto your head) He snorts with every stride and I swear I could feel him smiling. He's a very, very vocal horse with all his squeals, grunts, snorts and sighs. You never wonder how he is feeling, he's quick to let you know, vocally. For most of the extended trot I can keep him on the bit and well-rounded, but, with all that push, all that effort, he tires. That's when I have to work to keep him rounded, not flat and falling onto his forehand, and ease him back into a working trot. A trot that's easier to ride, easier to post.
I think the grin of that ride was frozen to my face hours after it ended. The arena may be too slick, too muddy to do any work in right now, but what an excuse for an amazing extended trot down a long, straight, pea-gravel and dirt road.
P.S. I've been trying to post snow photos, but Blogger is being a crab about it. I will keep persevering!