Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back In Business!

Today was an exciting day, and a big milestone for me six weeks after my accident.  Although it was still pretty warm this afternoon - mid 80sF - I was ready to ride, so I did - both Dawn and Drift - it was too hot for Pie.  And this time, unlike the two times I rode Pie more than a week ago, I didn't feel tentative, or weak, or worried.  In many respects, I benefited from the enforced time off due to our week-long heat wave - for the past few days I've been pretty much feeling normal and my energy level's pretty much back although I'm certainly far from fit.  All three horses got thorough groomings, and when I was done grooming Dawn I saddled her up and off we went.

I'd set some cones in the arena (freshly dragged thanks to my husband), and Dawn and I did a bit of in-hand and leading work before I got on.  She stood pretty well (not perfectly but we'll refine it) for mounting, and we did a bunch of walk work, confirming her softening at the walk - her head position is now perfectly stable after my work on allowing at the clinic.  Then we did a lot of walk/halt transitions and also some backing, as well as some stretching down.  Very quickly, everything we'd had was back - she'd had only one ride in the past 6 weeks (my daughter rode her while she was visiting) - she was soft and responsive, despite Scout and Fritz deciding to run like maniacs in the closest pasture.  We then did just a small bit of trot work - both posting and sitting - Dawn was great but I wanted not to shake up my head too much so I stopped there, and Dawn's not fit at all - I sure wanted to keep going but that was enough for our first outing.  I was by myself at the barn when riding Dawn (wearing my helmet and cell phone of course) and had no concerns about this at all - this is how I usually ride and with our small number of horses and people I need to be comfortable doing this, and I am.

Then I groomed and saddled Drift.  We also did a bit of leading and in-hand work before I got on - I'd waited for our p.m. barn lady to bring in Scout and Fritz so he wouldn't have running horses to deal with.  Everything was good, so on I got.  We first did some confirming work on his standing still on a loose rein for mounting - it took three tries to get acceptable but not perfect standing.  Then we worked on confirming his softness at the walk and in the walk/halt transition and in backing - it took a few minutes for him to remember,  but once he did it was all there again, although he was prone to being distracted.  We didn't trot yet, because I want more consistency in his walk and walk/halt work first. When I was done I dismounted, and then led him back to the mounting block and got on again - he stood like a rock on a loose rein!  I got right back off and put him away.

I was delighted - I didn't lunge either horse before getting on and they both remembered every bit of their training - it took Drift a few minutes but then he was back with the program.  I'm tired, but I feel really, really good.  More riding coming up soon . . .

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