1. I love the conversations that are occurring in response to my Changing Lens series. Lori asked if I've ever tried riding in a hackamore or other bitless bridle (in response to the question on bits). I've ridden in one, once or twice. I actually worry a lot about the nose pressure that is caused with a hackamore. They can be very harsh (but bits can be too) and I, personally, do not like the feel I get with a bitless bridle. I have very light hands so the pressure on the bit is more of a "holding your hand" than a pulling thing. I also love feeling conversation travel through the reins; I love when Lucy chews happily on the bit. She can't wait to get it in her mouth when I bridle her so it must be comfortable. I don't think I'll ever ride in a double bridle -- if you are riding well, you should be able to do everything in a snaffle and two bits is just too much metal in the mouth. I have no idea why upper level dressage requires a double bridle; it has never made sense to me. Nirvana would be riding with no bridle, bitless or otherwise. I have the most admiration for people who ride grand prix movements, in total harmony and balance, bareback with no bridle.
2. We are back to icy, cold, and wet weather. Yesterday, the latest storm eased and left a cold day with intermittent drizzle in its wake. Brett moved the horses back out to the pasture. They get cabin fever in the worst way in the barn. Another storm arrives tonight so we wanted them to have a day, at least, to chill in the pasture. Jackson went out first and was a perfect gentleman. Lucy went next and she danced all the way to the pasture. Brett said she danced, she spun, she reared and her head was high the whole way over. Even Pistol was prancing on her turn. Flash and Tex were "up," but well behaved. This morning, as I stood at the kitchen sink throwing ingredients in the crock pot for tonight's dinner, I watched Lucy, Pistol and Jackson racing around their pasture in the icy morning air. Once the sun is up, they all sleep in the mud; stretched out on the ground.
3. Brett had to move Tex in and out of the barn before the last storm because I was at work. He had no trouble at all. Tex dropped his head into the halter for Brett, as he has been doing for me. True progress.
4. I felt pretty spoiled this last Christmas with the all gifts I received from my family. Last year, I started coloring in "adult" coloring books and discovered that I really enjoy it. It's an activity that I can lose myself in and is a great stress reducer. For Christmas, I got two coloring books and have been busy in the evenings and on weekends. I'm particularly pleased with how this picture came out (I use color pencils). I watched a couple "how-to" videos on YouTube and off I went.