I met N at the barn last night and we rode. Ashke was covered with mud and I could see in his run where he had spent several hours laying in the sun soaking up the rays. He was in a great mood and very happy to see me. I had to use the shedding blade to get the mud off. Thank goodness he is mostly shed out, or it would have been really nasty. (His neighbor, Fool, still has a lot of his winter coat and he gets dreads and lumps of mud stuck to him.) Ashke was still a little sensitive over the haunches, but much better. I figure that by the time we hit Saturday he will be fully recovered.
We went to the indoor arena and I set up four of my poles in the bending pattern (not in a line, but rather offset from each other and about 24' apart - I used eight steps between poles and eight steps between lines). It is one of the obstacles used in Working Equitation. We started with the obligatory walk, trot and canter in both directions - Ashke picked up his left lead like a dream, but I struggled with back pain and we did only a couple of loops. He then picked up his right lead for one circuit, and again we stopped because I was in so much pain. He seemed to sense my pain or I didn't feel right to him in the saddle, because he wasn't interested in cantering again. In fact, he settled into a sweet light trot. (Yes, it is a bitch getting old and broken, because you don't heal as quickly as you used to.)
Cali was incredible for N. N didn't lunge her last night to start things off. Instead, she swung on and started riding. They walked, trotted and N was working on shoulder fore and shoulder in when Cali felt the dressage whip touch her outside hip and she stepped into a canter going to the right on the correct lead with no issue at all. She's very beautiful to watch canter - it's very Friesan. Then they worked to the left and again Cali did great.
While they were riding around the outside of the arena, I walked Ashke through the poles and indicated the pattern. He picked it up pretty quick. I am working on him turning when I weight the stirrup and tighten my calf, so he has something to bend around. He does great to the left, but still struggles a bit to the right. About the fourth or fifth time through, he would tilt his ears back and really work at making his turns tight and still forward, all on his own. It was almost like he was going to show those poles what for.
N decided that two really incredible and correct right leads were enough for the night, so we left the arena and wandered around the barn property in the growing dusk. We got to watch the bunnies romping in the field and walked the horses over so they could see Bunnies weren't going to eat them. The buck, being very male and full of himself, tried to chase us off. It was pretty funny to see our two horses acting like they were going to be eaten by this tiny cottontail.
Then we wandered to the other side of the barn where there is a fairly decent ditch. It was empty and dry and I asked Ashke to walk through it. He ended up with his front feet in the bottom of the ditch and his hind feet on the top of the ditch, which put the grass at mouth level in front of him. Goober. I asked him to move through, which meant he had to walk up the other side with his front feet, while walking down with his back. The first time he handled it well, but on our second crossing, he struggled to get his haunches under him and we kind of scrambled up the far side of the ditch.
I had been afraid he would take a lunging jump, and not wanting to jam his mouth or have my weight thrown onto his back (or get tossed) I had taken a pretty good hold of the front of the saddle and was trying to be prepared for anything. I wasn't expecting the scramble. He managed it just fine.
I, however, partially dislocated my left shoulder. Again. I think they call that a partial separation in football.
I was in tears it hurt so bad. I couldn't even talk to N. She asked me if I had dislocated it and I said yes, but it had slid back into the socket. (I've been told by two doctors and my chiropractor that nothing is wrong with it, but they all are confused.) My arm was weak and I had numb spots on my elbow and hand. I don't know how the nerves run through the arm, but I do know they react to my shoulder being out of whack.
This shoulder issue started when I was a kid. I don't have any clear recollection of what I did to it, but I know that I have had pain in that shoulder for ever. In my early twenties, I would have to have someone help me put the shoulder back in and could feel it click into place in the rotator cuff. (Yes, I know, I probably need surgery, but honestly who has time for that?) Sometimes the pain is centered in the shoulder itself, sometimes it's in the collarbone joint. It has bothered me off and on for years. In 2006, when I was thrown and tore myself up, it took additional damage. Now it hurts almost all the time, it's just a matter of degree.
Last night it was bad. It was so bad I struggled to put the saddle on the saddle rack and sweeping up the grooming bays caused a cold sweat. When I got home I took a hot shower and then T rubbed my shoulder for me. I think it was the touch of his hands and his earnest attempt to heal me that made the pain subside just a bit. It was enough to allow me to sleep most of the night, although I kept trying to turn onto that shoulder and having to turn back the other direction. This morning I treated it with Tiger Balm, which helped quite a bit, and will continue with advil today. The pain is lessening as the day goes on and I really expect my arm to be functional by the time we go to the archery range.