Now I’m not going to try and outdo my Canadian and bloggers from other Snow-covered lands, but today is a snow day.
Yesterday afternoon we had heavy rain until the early hours of this morning and then it snowed. So this morning we woke to a faint smattering of snow, but more importantly, the rain that had fallen yesterday had frozen solid.
Now us Britons are renowned for making a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to snow, but ultimately we aren’t used to it so need to take various precautions.
I’m going to London this evening, so I had a short day anyway. Plus the fact that I’d had a cancellation due to illness and moved a pony from today to yesterday in order to fill in a gap in my day due to a lameness. So I only really had four “jobs” to do.
I don’t like cancelling, unless it’s really necessary, but I also know what weather like today’s tends to be very localised so I needed to speak to each client individually.
When I got to Otis the roads were covered in black ice, so I decided not to take him for a walk – why risk either of our legs?! He could do a longer walk this afternoon.
The arena there had a light dusting of snow, but the surface had a fair bit of give still. With this client I’ve been introducing leg yield, so I decided that we’d focus on the leg yield in walk, with a couple of trots to get the circulation going. It was a good, thinking lesson and I feel both horse and rider benefited from the focus on leg yield, evenness of rein contact, and straightness.
Meanwhile, I had spoken to my next client, who’s arena is not so good in cold weather. We decided to do some long reining and double rein lunging. Her cob tends to turn in, so the time was well spent keeping him walking on a big circle. Then to finish, we did some turn on the forehand from the ground. Again, another useful lesson given the weather conditions. With both horses we just kept an eye on the surface balling up in their hooves and removed it when it did.
Next up, I had two horses to ride another yard. I’d spoken to one owner, who said the ground was fine, but when I got there I was told the arena was frozen solid. It had become waterlogged yesterday afternoon and frozen solid. I could hack one of the horses around the fields; less ice, and away from the roads and traffic. It was howling a gale, and sleeting when we set off, but the mare behaved beautifully and we had a lovely ride. After that, we decided that the spooky mare didn’t need exercising – it just wasn’t worth the risk.
So that’s why I’m home already! It’s strange, and I feel that I’m skiving work!
To pass the time, here’s a family favourite snow story.
It was early 1995 and I was four, in my first year at school. We woke up one morning to snow. I don’t know, about two inches? Anyway I remember that the school bus didn’t come, but Dad thought the school would be open anyway, so he took me. I can’t remember why he didn’t go to work, but he was home that day.
Anyway, we pulled up at the small village school, about five miles away, and Dad said words to the effect of,
“Right, off you go, have a nice day.” And out of the car I got.
I toddled along the snowy pavement, past the empty staff car park. I paused, the school looked shut. I turned to check Dad was still there, only to see the back of the car disappearing into the distance.
I tried the door, but it was locked and the lights were off. The school was closed.
I started trudging back along the path, I think I must have made the decision to walk to my best friend’s house around the corner. Then a car pulled up. In it was another school friend, and her parents.
They asked me what I was doing and if school was open. To which I must have told them the situation because soon I was climbing into the car and they were driving me home.
Once home, I opened the front door to see Mum frantically phoning the school, friends, anyone who could go out and get me, while Dad looked on saying “they wouldn’t have closed school in my day for this!”
We had more snow that day, and it ended up going up to my knees and leading to several days off school!