Having stalled in my training efforts in the middle of January, I have started work again with my own horses and have come to the conclusion that it would be easier to just rough them off at the beginning mid-November to the end of February every year. All they want to do is eat anyway. It does mean that I have to start at the beginning again but it doesn't take long to get field-fit horses going. A month of walking out and long reining will easily get us to the point where they can be ridden. Theoden and Chancer aren't young horses but they haven't done a lot in their lives so they are both pretty green. I will need to convince them that the world hasn't turned flat in their absence and gradually increase their comfort zones.
I was discussing this with a friend on Monday and whilst we can have admiration for people who manage to keep their horses fit throughout the winter, getting up at first light to ride before work and riding two more in the evening, I'm just not up to that and I don't want to be made to feel guilty. No-one can actually make anyone feel anything but there are those of us who are susceptible to a bit of guilt and it is a useless emotion. I read somewhere that only the good feel guilty.
All of the horses have come out of the winter well including the New Forest ponies. There are seven turning up at the 'drop-in' centre every day, all pregnant by the same stallion, so the spring should be fun. Mussels seems not to have faltered once since he had his pockets picked and if we cannot find a home for him, he will be going out on to the Forest in a month or so.