Seems like I have a knack for owning horses who were born in Florida. Cigar is from Ocala, and Ike came from Wellington. Needless to say that it was fun to watch as Ike adjusted to a Virginia winter, albeit a mild one. We learned that he is not a fan of cold wind and rain – he quickly earned the title of Fair Weather Fairy (FWF) at the barn.
When the cold moved in but no winter coat appeared, he experienced a blanket for the first time. The poor boy trembled the first time he wore it. The first time he went to his paddock wearing the 84 inches of plaid, he kept looking back at his body. His head would whip around and he’d sniff one side and then he’d check out the other. Ike then started trotting faster and faster, finally breaking into a gallop around the perimeter. He stopped suddenly, whirled his head around and I’m pretty sure he was thinking, “Oh, shucks, it is still there.” Never seen a horse try to run away from a blanket. Leave it to my boy to try.
He almost made it through the winter without any measurable snow, but finally in February, a couple inches appeared overnight. He was turned out as usual, but the FWF pushed the snow off the fence, pawed the ground, and started running. “What is this white stuff everywhere?!?! Hurry, hurry, get me back in my stall!” He hid in his stall until the offending snow melted later that day. I think Ike would have found a way to move back to Florida if we had a winter like we did in 2009-2010 when we counted the snow accumulation not in inches but in feet.
The mild winter also meant that we were able to ride more often than not. We are headed into spring with a decent fitness level and a better canter than we had last fall. I no longer fear losing a knee on the fence. I will leave you with a short video of our right lead canter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyapbarXUVg