In the Bleak Midwinter

Can I just whine a little bit for a second? Ok I'm gonna. 

Picture this: You've cleared your schedule for winter. You're feeling motivated! Optimistic! You're going to ride 3-5 times a week, weather permitting of course, and you're going to be the most ready for show season you've been in three years as a result! Awesome! Great plan, you.

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Here's what. It's an arctic tundra outside, but you doggedly exit your iced-over car and trudge through blowing snow in the dusky evening light towards your horse's pasture. It's the first day above 0º in weeks. You're going to ride, dammit!  

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Except, your pony doesn't particularly want to be caught today. You try to move your body swiftly in your 900 layers of clothing but your legs feel like petrified tree trunks, you're slipping on ice, you're saying bad words, you're 90% sure you're going to sell your pony.

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But, you finally catch up to pony, and feed him enough bribes for him to stand still long enough for you to halter him with your ruddy, stiff fingers. You decide not to sell him after all, this week.

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You make it into the barn, where it's just as cold as outside but mercifully out of the wind. You now have to somehow talk yourself into relinquishing a couple layers of clothing so that you can actually move enough to ride your horse. 

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This is just a typical Thursday here in Northern WI for yours truly. And all this is just for a ride! I'm not even talking about barn chores here, which, actually, as miserable as they can be, at least tend to keep your heart-rate high enough to keep your blood from freezing in your veins. But anyway. I just needed all my pals in other parts of the country to understand what us northerners go through to get a ride in on any given day in the winter.

Any time someone from The North is looking even remotely put together at an early spring show, know that it took mountains of determination, a fair amount of pure insanity, and gritted-teeth for them to make regular rides happen for the four months preceding that show. That, or they're one of the lucky bastards boarding at a heated barn. 

But just to balance out the whining here, I will add that there are some things I actually love about the winter. It's a short list, but it exists.

1. No mud
2. No bugs
3. I usually get the arena completely to myself on any given day
4. My horse likes cold weather better than warm, and is more forward and fun to ride
5. Living where it gets really cold means we don't deal with superhot summers...thank God because I melt in anything over 85 and my pony completely ceases to function. 

So, shout out to everyone soldering through winter in a cold-climate location...Mad props to you for making it work! Summer will come again someday, I promise. Until then you're allowed some whine with your cheese. ;)