It was difficult to leave my cozy home office, where I was writing in my journal and drinking hot tea, to venture out into the cold gray day for a riding lesson. I set up the riding lesson on purpose, since I knew that I would need some outside source of motivation to get myself to the barn on a day with the temperatures below freezing.
Layers of silk, fleece, and my new Ariat vest that I got for Christmas, which made me feel like I was locked into a straitjacket, did nothing to warm me up in the cold barn. However, my horse's clear delight with the mid-day attention did fill me with warmth, as I tacked up and substituted his blankets for his quarter sheet. Once we finished our walk warm-up, short work durations concentrating on collection, spiral circles, counter canter work, and changes, interspersed with walk breaks, quickly warmed me up and made me forget about the miserable winter weather. My straitjacket vest was appreciated by me for its warmth, and by my instructor, who said that she could easily see when I was collapsing a side, and not lifting up through my rib cage, because of the crinkles and uneven lines that appeared in the material.
Back in the barn, my grateful horse devoured carrots while getting an invigorating curry under his fleece cooler. Back in my home office with my cup of hot tea, I am grateful for horse ownership and clear riding goals that pull me out of my comfortable den, where I could stay happily cocooned for the duration of winter, in order to spend time with my horse who warms me up even on the coldest days.