My weekend barn work was turned upside down this weekend… in a good way! They have been very generous about offering me horses to exercise, and this weekend was almost strictly riding. I have to say, I feel very strange riding while someone else does chores. Always having been a hard worker, it didn’t feel much like work but felt weird and a little dirty. But it DID feel great to get that much riding in.
On Saturday I rode 3 + Bentley. I had a good scare when I was warming up the first horse of the day, and coming through a circle, she tripped and fell… down to the knees, but it wasn’t over, another lurch and she was on her chest with her nose in the dirt. Fortunately she fell straight forward and by me throwing her the reins and standing up out of the saddle, she was able to recover right back up without falling to the side and crushing me. I usually do this, let the horse try and figure it out themselves… my interference would only cause further trouble. Did I mention she’s somewhere between 17 and 18h? Its a long way to fall. I did a few tests and she was not off in any way, but the reason for her fall remains a mystery.
Sunday added an extra horse to the lineup. I started off with the same 3. Everything was very different from Saturday. One was clearly tired from Saturday’s work. Another was riled up to the point where I would compare her to Bentley 6 months ago (lemme run, lemme run!) where she had been very sedate the day before. The other, who is considered a lazy horse, I seemed to start figuring out. Lots of seat and lots of hand, and we had a beautiful ride. I had ridden them all before, but just walking around the property so these feel more like the first rides to me.
When I got through them, I was asked about whether or not they scared me. I have never really been afraid to get on any horse (its more performance anxiety when an owner is watching that gets me!) so of course I said no, and also mentioned if I expect to get on 25 unfamiliar wild ponies, I can’t afford to be afraid of any horse at home. So I was tested with Raz, the big boy. I don’t think hes bad at all, but perhaps he takes advantage of nervous riders? I was watched for a few minutes and given the blessing to continue as I wished.
Like Saturday, I finished with a walk on Bentley. This time with Kristina and Bounce. It was their first time riding around the property, but they handled it like it was old hat. Even when we went by the road and saw some cars pass.
We just stayed in the “easy” areas, it was foggy and night was falling. Plus we could save the orchard and bunny hill for another ride.
I worked stirrupless at this point. From the start of Raz (horse #4) I was having strong sharp pain in my right calf when I put pressure in the stirrups. After removing my boots, I had a hard bruising/swelling in a lump on the calf that just seemed to develop out of nowhere. I had experienced this in May on my left leg too and my friend Laura suggested I may have compartment syndrome. It hadn’t happened again so I never thought to ask the doctor about it. Perhaps riding wider horses or horses requiring more leg triggered something to cause the swelling. Or perhaps it was my socks (it happened right at the elastic). Whatever the cause may be, its good that it is happening now and giving me 8 months to figure it out and solve the problem.