Thursday, November 27, 2014
Hard to find any motivation when you arrive at the barn to find this. OMG. My white (technically grey) horse has no intention of staying that color during the winter. It was way to cold to hose him off, but I did manage to get him a kind of smeary beige by the time I was done grooming him.
To back up, on Monday when I arrived at the barn I was flooded with a lack of motivation. The thought of cleaning the mud off of my horse (yes, he was muddy then too), tacking up and riding was just too much. K was there (not intending to ride) and was feeling as unmotivated as I was. I suggested we let Ashke and Eddy run in the outdoor arena for a bit. K agreed and as she went to get Eddy, I walked Ashke down and turned on the arena lights. As we waited for Eddy and K to make their way down from the field area, Ashke began to self-lunge around me with his elevated, floating trot.
It does my heart so much good to watch him move that way. It tells me his haunches and RH are strong and his rehab is progressing. I love seeing him move so effortlessly. He really enjoys being able to blow off steam in the arena.
When Eddy got there we turned them loose and let them get to know each other. They sniffed and lipped a little, but there was no squealing or striking. Then, between one sniff and the next, they were off. They raced up and down the outdoor with their heads in the air, stiff legged turns and head tossing, and then the flattened, all-out, scootle butt Arabian race horse in full flight back up towards us. K and I started cheering them on when they made the far turn and began racing toward us. At one point they both stopped at the end closest to us and snorted, the big blowy snorts that sound like little horse explosions. I conversationally asked Ashke if he was done, and his answer was a huge leap in the air and once again they took off running. Finally, after maybe ten minutes of wild play, Ashke began lunging around me in a huge circle. I turned and asked him if he were done. He answered by turning to me and trotting up, slowing at the last instant, and then burying his head against my chest.
I took that as a yes. He was warm but not hot, not even breathing hard, and he still danced on the way back to the barn.
Weds night, I was not motivated going to the barn and even less motivated when I saw his muddy state. I, however, refused to miss a ride just because I am feeling lazy. And experiencing some pain. I have an issue with my right hip, at the top of the iliac crest. It feels like a muscle bruise and I suspect I pinched that particular muscle between the bottom of my back brace and the side of the Alta Escuela cantle on my last trail ride. The cantle of the Alta curves around a lot more than the cantle on a western saddle, and the ends of the cantle are designed to flex with the movement of the rider (they have high tension springs that bring the ends of the cantle back into place). The saddle is designed this way to allow a rider who is bull-fighting the flexibility to move the garoucha pole but also the stability of having the cantle wrap around to hold their butt in the saddle. Anyway, I am feeling the pain of that bruised muscle and it would have too easy to just turn around and head home.
Instead, I groomed the muddy beast, and once I got that done, I decided I had spent enough energy doing that it seemed a waste not to ride. We rode in the indoor, since it was blowing and I didn't want to fight the wind and the energy that Ashke would bring to that ride. We started with walking both directions for two circuits, then trotted for four in each direction, then moved to the canter. His canter to the right is still faster and rougher than it is to the left, but both are improved. I may have to bring a dressage whip with me to encourage him to pick up the canter in a stride rather than trotting into it. I worked on moving his haunches in prior to asking, which helped him pick up the correct lead on the straightaway. We did two sets of three circuits each direction, with a walk circuit in between each set. Then we worked on turns on the forehand (awesome in both directions), turns on the haunches (better when he steps to the right, since he is pushing off with his LH) and sidepassing without the pole. I had to snap at him a little moving right to left, since it is harder for him to push off on the RH and he wasn't entirely sure what I wanted him to do, but by the time we moved the other direction, he was more willing. We finished up with serpentines and circles, working on neck reining, and I might have actually gotten my first couple of steps of a walk pirouette.
I left him in his stall, gobbling down big mouthfuls of TC Senior and carrots. I love it when he stretches his jaws as far open as he can to bite huge mouthfuls of the stuff, then closes his eyes in blissful joy, green mash dribbling from his lips as he chews. I will try and remember to take a video one of these days.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday with lots of love, laughter and family, in whatever form you define it.