Almost Winter Blues

The closer to December 21st we get the more frustrated I feel about my riding habits. I live almost an hour away from my workplace. I’m up around 4:30am to make it to work by 6:00am and I get out of work at 3:00pm which gets me home sometime after 4:00pm. That leaves no time to ride since it’s dark before 5:00pm. It’s a serious downfall to having horses on your own property and not having arena lights (or a proper arena for that matter!). Especially since I have to use the remaining daylight to clean stalls and feed/water everyone.

I do have a 6 stall breeze way with lights but since I’m unable to ride Monday through Friday I feel bad shoving my horses into a 12’x24’ stall, so I prefer to keep them in the 24’x24’ outdoor stalls or if someone is feeling generous while I’m at work they might get turned out in our over glorified ‘arena’ that’s probably 72’x100’. Great for classical work, not so much for general riding or working with hot/green/fresh horses.

I’ve seen Ben’s muscle condition go from excellent this summer to sadly pathetic this winter. Which is a crime because he is a pretty sexy beast when he’s in fine form. My saddle doesn’t even fit him anymore and switching out pads and padding hasn’t done much to improve the fit. It stresses me out even though he doesn’t seem to care because I feel terrible after each ride when my pad combo for the ride still leaves uneven sweat marks. I’ve considered just doing line work or lunging him from now on until the days are longer in February. But he’s an older guy at 21 and I have concerns about joint health working in a circle all the time. At least my land hippo Valeria doesn’t also need working. Her only job right now is incubating a baby hippo foal.

I used to work from home which allowed me to do whatever I wanted with my horses during the day as long as I put in 8 hours of work. Now I’m thinking about moving closer to work and boarding my horses except that would require a job that makes a bit more than I currently do. So maybe that’s my 5 year plan. Until then I’m going to have to figure out a way to create some lighting. Is it too country bumpkin (I live in the ‘country’ area of San Diego) to use car headlights? Haha…

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8 thoughts on “Almost Winter Blues

  1. Ha I’ve definitely ridden by headlights before!! Really tho these short days get me down too. They’ll be getting longer again soon, but just in time for it to get real cold here. Sigh.

    Love that synchronized spook pic tho haha

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  2. Oh yeah. I won’t pretend to know what that kind of cold is but I don’t like how hard the ground gets here so I can only imagine.

    Synchronized spook leads to synchronized Liberty work…right? Cavalia, here we come.

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  3. We also don’t have lights so this time of year we ride in the morning and go in to work later. I actually negotiated flex time as part of my job specifically because I want to be able to ride all year long. Maybe try riding first and cleaning stalls by car light. At least it’ll start getting better soon.

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    • I’ve been sneaking out 15 mins early a few times a week to get some extra daylight. Unfortunately as a government contractor I don’t get much negotiation power but I’m hoping that changes perhaps around July.

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  4. Not country bumpkin, just doing what you have to do to get through.
    I feel for you though, those long and inflexible days are really brutal and a massive test of character when it comes to having horses. We don’t really have barns and trainer rides and the like in New Zealand so I’m always slightly envious of that lifestyle when I’m struggling through the winter months. University has been so refreshing in that I always have a flexible schedule, but I do not look forward to returning to the 40 hour work week in a year or so!

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    • I wish I had a trainer to ride my horses! I’m very fortunate that I can at least afford to get my filly broke by a very good trainer so I don’t screw her up. I’ll be the first to admit that I can ride but not train.
      I do agree the short days do require a certain dedication when you’re stuck riding outside between bad weather and fading daylight.

      On a side note, I had a friend go to New Zealand for work and took a guided trail ride. It’s so beautiful out there! I was so jealous of her photos. If I ever get the opportunity I’ll die.

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