Monday, February 2, 2015

Tales of the Frozen North

New England is notoriously cold and snowy in winter, but this year in particular the weather is living up to its reputation. We've had two snow days--classes canceled--within six class days. Not every day has been cold and snowy, but many have.

On the first snow day, last Tuesday, all students here were required to stay in their dorms all day. Roads here in Massachusetts were closed, so we couldn't have had class if we'd wanted to. A friend of mine and I felt like our time could be better spent on the farm than in our rooms, though; we ended up getting permission from our parents and the dean of students to help during morning chores while everyone else was in lockdown.

The weather wasn't as bad as it could have been. Nevertheless there was a lot of wind, and most of the snow that fell was blown into drifts. The light was so flat that I had trouble capturing the outdoor scenes on camera. I did try!

A young calf recently born at the farm

Yesterday we had good, albeit cold, weather. I made it to Stoneleigh for my first riding lesson of the semester. I was paired with a horse new to the barn called Thatch. He's either nine or seven years old, according to my instructor, and very athletic. He's strong and energetic, but also fairly responsive. We worked a lot on varying his pace at the trot and canter and encouraging him to drop his head and relax a bit. I didn't do a terrible job, and we got to do some jumping as well as flatwork. He was a lot of fun. His pace and balance were such that I could feel power coming from his hind end rather than his front, something which I'm not talented enough to feel very often. And I'm getting better at encouraging horses to round up a little bit. While I'm unbelievably sore, it was a great lesson!

Thatch, my new favorite lesson horse

Today was the second snow day of these past two weeks. I spent most of it either sleeping or sledding. Both of those activities seem more important than pretty much anything else at this point. Winter is tough.

There are some breaks in the monotony; as well as having done chores in a blizzard and gone riding yesterday, I also placed 10th at a classic-technique Nordic ski race on Saturday-- my best result to date! There are three races left in the ski season--four, counting the NEPSAC race, which I might or might not attend depending on how my coaches feel. I'm excited for championship races, coming up soon, as well as for the end of a very long, cold sports season.

Stay warm!

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