Now to my weekly wrap-up as per the usual routine!
Monday – Still feeling pretty tired. No more sneezing or other symptoms, just exhausted. I want to go riding, but Lee convinces me that filling our fridge with food is more urgent. Guess it was a good thing too, as I was ready to keel over after the hour or so of shopping.
I did some laundry too, and convinced my cat that she wanted to live in the basket on top of my lap (she isn’t easily convinced of anything) There, see, I worked on training cats… after that wild ponies should be a breeze!
Given that I didn’t do any exercise, I decided to swing my legs a lot while I was brushing my teeth, to make up SOME activity (it doesn’t have to make sense – i was sick!) Of course, I ended up kicking the door of the bathroom and crunched the left side of my left foot pretty bad. That’s just what I do.
Tuesday – I was hobbling around terribly, unable to put any weight on that side of my foot. Determined and foolish, I went to the gym anyway. I managed to hobble my way through 30 minutes and 2 1/4 miles. I opted not to ride as Linda told me that the driveway was very difficult to walk-in the light-with both feet working.
Wednesday – Still hobbling but can put some weight on my stupid foot. I have my lesson planned and am excited to ride (finally!) after almost 2 weeks off in sickness. Just as I am about to leave work, Lynn texts me – goody goody, the snowplow is blocking the driveway because its stuck in the snow. Yes, this is Canada. So lesson is cancelled and I have no way of getting to the barn. To make up for this, I doubled my intended gym time – foot be damned! I was happy to run almost normally and just live with the pain. In other words, it was much improved from the day before. I churned out 5.29 miles (8.5k) in an hour and hit the steam room.
Then I went over to see Linda, she had been away in Aruba all the week I was sick, and I hadn’t seen her since. That and we had some horsey projects to work and chatting to catch up on.
Thursday – Utter joy hearing that not only was the snowplow fished out of the barn driveway, but a big plow had done the whole drive, including the hill up to the paddock. A short run at the gym (30 mins and 4.4km) and I was off to ride. There were lessons going on, so we didn’t really do much other than putter around the middle of the arena at the walk. I was pretty disappointed that my grand return to riding was so anticlimactic, but at least Bentley was happy to see me and lavished me with kisses before and after our ride.
Friday – Gym again, running for 30 mins doing 4.6km. The intention for our ride that night was to take video for Heather to analyze for me. I picked up Lee on the way, and once we got there, realized my camera was nowhere to be found! So it turned into a short half hour ride instead. We had determined when tacking up that the browband of Bentley’s new bridle was too tight, without a replacement handy, we just took it off but also had to take out the noseband too as the browband was holding it all together. I have to say, he does look pretty handsome sporting the western look.
Saturday – Back to barnwork feeling pretty good. Got through all my stalls in good time and with no pain. Rode 2 of the HP horses for a half hour each. GK was full of energy and just whipping around the arena at the trot. Romance was a worrier and afraid to step over the ground poles at the walk, but eventually relaxed and obliged. She was throwing her head a lot, which I had a few theories on but none of them were correct – I made a discovery on Sunday with her.
After all my chores were done, it was Bentley’s turn to ride. After the issue with the bridle on Friday, I brought in his old bridle to put the bit back on (which I had set up as a hackamore). Instead, I decided just to go ahead with the hackamore, and brought it right out to the field with me. Vicky had to bring down a horse too, and patiently waited while I positioned a very confused Bentley, climbed a snowy fence, and rode him back to the barn. He certainly seemed to like the change of plans, and of course I loved the brief ride outside (despite the accumulated snow on Bentley’s blanket which made for a cold wet seat)
Took off the blanket and decided just to do our work bareback. Did I mention, this was Bentley’s first work in a hackamore (other than a short walk done in the fall). He was responding so well in the first minute, that I moved him into the trot. We were both so relaxed and calm, despite his spiny withers, I still managed to sit comfortably. We ended up trotting for almost an hour (yes I feel you cringing, but it was great!), and did some relaxed cantering too. Lots of circles and serpentines with even better bend than I get with a bit. The reins were loose and very rarely used more than a slight tickle of a reminder. Near perfect transitions too! Pretty sure I was grinning the entire time. There is something very special about riding bareback. We even had some visitors: 2 little girls who fawned over him and petted him all over – searching for the softest fur on his body. He absolutely loves kids. He was a great ambassador for the barn and I think we will be seeing them again soon. Pretty close to a perfect ride right there!
Sunday – More fun at the barn. It started out with stalls again, then exercising the youngsters.
Moving on, the schedule had me riding 3 horses. On a hunch, I put my own saddle on GK to see if it would fit (as their saddles are a bit too big for me and cause me to slide around quite a bit) To my surprise, it fit perfectly! Even better than the one she usually wears. So the result was an absolutely fantastic ride. I was secure, and she had free floaty movement. It felt great!
Romance was up next and also fit into my saddle. Just after I bridled her, I noticed “Ouch!” she has a small cut forming on her lips from the bit. Ah ha! That was why she was throwing her head around so much yesterday! So instead, I grabbed Bentley’s hackamore and rode her in that. It was the best ride we have had to date – no fussing of her head, deep sighs, and despite not being in a tight round frame, she was moving nicely uphill anyway. No force involved, just a tickle on turns and transitions. What a great discovery. She was a very different horse from the anxious mare I rode yesterday
Rossini didn’t fit my saddle so well which makes me question whether he should be sharing a saddle with the rest of them, or if it was just a borderline thing. He was good, and to my surprise wasn’t as lazy as he usually is. We had a really good long canter which got him all sweated up, but he seemed very happy to get that out of his system. On an odd note, his sweat didn’t smell like the other horses I know… it smelled almost exactly like smoked salmon. Anyone have suggestions what this might mean?
Once again, Bentley got the last ride of the day. This time, everything came together and Lee was able to record my videos for Heather.
For part of the video we had to jump, which I dont think we have really done since October. Bentley was thrilled about this and of course was hyperactive through our whole ride, knowing that he was going to be allowed his fun at the end. Of course, he jumped our warmup crossrail like it was the size of a house. He settled into a speedy pace, but at least the height became more predictable and I took him around a little 2-2’6″ course, only fumbling our distances by a tiny bit when we went through the combination (which was set more to pony distances and took some manipulation). We finished there, just shy of my hour goal, and he looked pretty darn pleased with himself. I informed Lynn that we must have a jumping lesson this week, because he was just too happy!