Two weeks ago it got cold here in Bend, Ore., and started snowing. Then the ground froze solid and it snowed some moreÑa lot more. Winter had made her grand entrance on the high desert, bringing temperatures that dipped close to zero degrees Fahrenheit at night and barely broke freezing during the day.

This is the time of year when I usually give up riding my two horses. Instead, I wrap them up in blankets, feed them mass quantities of hay, and let them know we’ll have fun again in the spring. When the opportunity arises, I do take my barefoot gelding out for a trail ride in the snow or haul my dressage horse, Marathon, to my trainer’s arena to stretch his legs. But, for the most part, my geldings spend winter getting wooly and playing pasture ponies until April rolls along.

Honestly, after five years living on my own horse property, I’m tired of the annual routine.

This winter a serious bout of cabin fever had me considering the once unthinkable: Maybe I’d be better off if we sold our small property and moved into town. I could board the boys at a facility with a beautiful indoor arena and (do I wish for too much?) heated grooming area. My husband and I could buy a condo, with no lawn or maintenance, next to one of our city’s beautiful parks along the winding Deschutes River. For breakfast we could amble to a locally owned corner coffee shop for fresh pastries and espressos while some other poor schmuck spent the frigid morning hours breaking ice from troughs and slinging feed to my horses as they beat their hooves against the stall doors.

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