Chloe may be 18 years old, but she still turns into “Winter Chloe” once the temperatures drop and the sun begins to set earlier. North Carolina is known for going from Summer to Winter in a matter of days. You will be in your sandals on a Saturday and then frantically looking for your horse blankets on Monday. Winter Chloe is just as consistent as the North Carolina weather. One day she is lazily loping around a set of jumps and then the next day she is a bucking, wooly mammoth! Seriously, North Carolina and Chloe….can we just ease into this!?
As you guys know, I have two young kids and I struggle to find time to get to the barn, let alone ride. Chloe, even at her old age, is the type of horse that needs a job. She needs to be ridden at least 3 times a week in order to be, well, rideable! (And for me not to be crying at the barn LOL). Currently the issue really only appears when you start to jump. And by definition, the word “jump” for Chloe nowadays is trot over a cavaletti pole. I remember two Decembers ago when she decided to jump all 4 of the cavaletti poles like an Olympic long jumper. What in the world?! I used to do the Child Adult Jumpers with this horse! She knows how to go through trot poles!
Last Monday I had my weekly lesson. Unfortunately, this lesson was one of the first I have had in recent weeks due to the intense rain we have been getting. While I have been out to hack Chloe sort of regularly, this was the first time I was going to jump in probably 3 weeks. Chloe was hacking around fantastic, but as soon as I trotted (TROTTED!) her over a raised cavaletti, the infamous Winter Chloe appeared. I wish I had it on video because I am sure it was a sight! In mid-air (yes, she jumped the pole like it was an oxer), she twisted to the right so that she could jump and simultaneously spook at the nearby coop. The same coop that has been in the arena for 2 years and that she has jumped 100 times. We land off this pole and Winter Chloe decides to finish off her performance with a series of gentle (you know you are obsessed with your horse when you describe their bucks as gentle) bucks while careening uncontrollably to the inside of the arena, where my trainer had to run out of her path. So that was fun! We decide to do it again the other direction (because I guess I am just as crazy as Chloe) and the only difference was perhaps a little more bascule over the raised cavaletti. Chloe had a blast, so I guess that is all that matters…
To answer your possible questions, yes Chloe’s saddle fits and she does not need chiropractic work. She is up to date on her hock injections and her dental work. This is just Chloe, the Chloe I have known since 2009, and more specifically Winter Chloe. I don’t think there is any malice on her part. In my lesson, it was clear that she was excited to be jumping and she was having fun. She is sort of like a cat. You know how a cat will be playing with you just fine and you are petting them, and then all of the sudden, for reasons unknown to anyone, your petting sets them off and they get possessed. They either start running around the house at full speed, scrambling around the corners, or they attack your arm, simultaneously biting and scratching with their hind legs. That my friends, is Winter Chloe. And I am afraid that Winter is here.
**Andrea Wise graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2007, where afterwards she spent 7 years as a commercial real-estate attorney. In 2012, she launched the equestrian company, Pony Glam, which makes and sells the only colored hoof dressing for horses. She is also the voice behind the new equestrian lifestyle blog, Horse Glam. Andrea lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Zach, two young children, cat and horse, Chloe.