Making the Most of It

As I may have mentioned a time or two, we have been enduring a long stretch of really cold weather.  Sitting around inside the house, though, was getting on all of our nerves, so last Sunday Annabelle and I decided to brave the cold and go for a little ride.

Although she had been home with a nasty cold three days out of four last week, my little girl was more than game to put on her chaps and get some exercise.  Grumpy wasn’t quite as excited.

Ready to Ride

We headed inside the barn to find that Kris had brought Chic along for a little trial run.  As you may recall, Chic is the wonderful horse that Annabelle was lucky enough to ride in horse shows all last summer.  He was literally stopped in his tracks by an infection in his foot last fall, and for a time even his mere survival was in jeopardy.  Chic has been rehabbing in his pasture at Kris’s house in Nampa, and he looked wooly and fat. 

And awesome.

He seemed genuinely happy to see his little girl again, and she was sure delighted to see him.  Kris threw Annabelle’s little saddle on so that we could see how the old boy was moving these days.

Chic's B ack

We led him out in the arena and Annabelle climbed right on.  I was worried that Chic might be a little fresh.  After all, it was only about 5 degrees outside, and Chic had not even seen a saddle for over four months.  Kris laughed really hard at me.

She knows her horse.

You can watch Annabelle trot him around here, if you’d like.

What a wild man!

Even if you know nothing about horses it is easy to observe that Chic is doing great.  He trotted around beautifully for the first couple of minutes, each foot striking the ground with equal force and timing.  It was only toward the very end of the ride that you could see a slight favoring of his bad foot.  I was so happy it almost made me cry.  Chic has a long way to go before he has a show career again, but just to see him be able to comfortably move around was heartwarming.

Annabelle and I saddled up Grumpy and Freckles and rode around in the indoor barn for awhile, then we went outside to walk around the snowy arena so Freckles could get some fresh air.

It was pretty bright out there.

Just do This

Grumpy snatched up a tumble weed from the corner of the pen and he and Annabelle had a nice three or four minute tug-of-war over it.  It was pretty entertaining.

My Weed

Even though she has no winter hair and it was REALLY cold out there, Freckles seemed to enjoy getting outside for a bit. 

It still makes my heart go pitter-patter to even look at her picture.  I just love that horse!

Lovely Miss Freckles

After we finished riding, we headed home for another great adventure: sledding with Grandpa Vernon.  The kids raced out to intercept him when they saw him heading to the barn with the sled.  They were pretty excited.

Getting Ready

Vernon hooked up the sled to his four wheeler, and the fun was on!

Hooking Up

Even though it was still really, really cold outside, Grandpa Vernon was not to be deterred.

They went through the pasture, where Winston promptly took his first opportunity to remove Annabelle’s hat.

Nice Winston

Grandpa Vernon kept on driving.

Across the Pasture

Through the yard…..

Across the Yard

past the orchard…..

Past the Trees

and all the way to the end of the big hay field in front of the house.

Down the Field

And back around again, probably a dozen times.  Even though I knew he had to be freezing, Grandpa Vernon stayed out there with the kids until they were finally satisfied.  The smile never left his face.

Or theirs.

222

Grandpa Vernon kinda makes my heart go pitter-patter too.

While all the festivities were going on the dogs ran around with me as I tried to shoot photos.

There were three doves sitting up in one of the trees in the front yard, a few remaining frost crystals decorating their perch.  I think doves are so pretty.

Doves

Thirteen-year old Toby stood nice and still for his portrait.  There is something about the gaze of an old dog that just looks wise.

Old Toby

And at long last I got to capture the true essence of Winston.

Tasmanian Devil

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case I have to agree.  The Tasmanian Devil is surely Winston’s long-lost twin brother.

It turned out to be a lovely day for the whole family, cold and all.

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