Last night, I was bound and determined to ride. Though he had been worked at other times, I hadn't sat on my horse in a week, and I hadn't schooled him under saddle in a week and a half. I watched the weather all day, left work on time, changed into warm barn clothes, made a snack, and I was at the barn in a reasonable time frame.
I checked the thermometer there: 18 degrees. Cold, but not insurmountable. I tacked up with a quarter sheet and laid out a line of poles on the quarter line.
Actually riding was colder than I thought. We walked with a good forward energy and rhythm for about 10 minutes, over the poles each time around, and I mostly steered through my seat aids while keeping my hands in my pockets. Which was actually a good, useful exercise, as it forced me to pay careful attention to my aids and not over-correct. I have a tendency to ask for him to turn off my leg, over-ask, and then boomerang him back with the other leg, resulting in a weird wobbly line. Last night I played Goldilocks and he responded well, getting a good turn off the track, marching forward, and even changing direction a few times all while I kept hands in pockets.
I picked up the reins on the buckle for the trot, and we worked on forward and stretchy, with poles each time around, and then picked up the reins a little bit more. Nothing dramatic, nothing even like a frame, but I wanted to encourage him to reach for the bit even with a very light contact. He did beautifully, stretching down and staying forward.
After about 30 minute total of work, my feet were very cold, even with winter tall boots and two layers of socks (one of them Smartwool). I was a bit confused but I'd gotten some good work in. In all, a quiet, laid back, yet productive sort of ride. I was pleased with my plan and my execution of the plan.
I topped off Tristan's mostly-frozen-already water bucket, threw him an extra flake of hay, and tidied up my things.
When I got back in my car, I checked the temperature again: 8 degrees. It had dropped ten degrees in the hour+change I had spent at the barn. No wonder my feet were getting cold! I immediately felt even better about my decision to plan a light stretchy ride without much aerobic exercise.
Then I went home and crawled under many blankets.