Ever have a great Saturday, and then a series of small but unfortunate events leaves you feeling grumpy on Sunday afternoon and even grumpier knowing Monday is just around the corner? That’s how I feel right now.
Yesterday I spent all day at the barn for the first time in forever, and it was lovely. When I first got out, I jogged Simon and he was sound. Yay! His hock had no swelling and was nice and cold, so I put him up and decided to do a light lunging walk/trot session later. Even though it had rained all night before, the ring was soggy but rideable so we got to do our adult make-up lesson. Since Simon had been off all week, my trainer let me ride Adora, a really nice Warmblood mare who is in-between leases right now.
It was so awesome. I don’t think I’ve been on a well trained Warmblood since college, and I just got to enjoy the ride and practice my equitation. She gets a little heavy, but aside from keeping her together that’s all I felt like I had to do. Plus we were only jumping tiny cross rails and a little pole jump pole, so it wasn’t like it was a complicated lesson. That was a lot of fun.
Later I lunged Simon a little, and even though he was really lazy he looked very sound. Based on lunging yesterday and our ride today, I think he really hates the mud. I mean I don’t love mud, but my usual forward loving ottb is very ‘meh’ in soggy corner.
After I lunged him, I took my time grooming and clipping his face up some since the saddle fitter was running late. I had called her earlier this week to come back out and take a look at what we could do to my current saddle to improve the fit. The saddles she and the internet had recommended for my high/long withered, flat backed horse were well, well out of my price range at the moment. I decided the best thing to do in the short term was to narrow the tree of my saddle to try to make it fit his withers better, and save my pennies for a higher quality saddle that is a forever fit for him. So she came out to do a tracing of him, and took my saddle away to be squished.
Now it’s Sunday, and I woke up this morning with a nasty head cold brewing. I have too much to do today to be sick, so after sleeping half the day away because of my cold I drug myself out to the barn to ride. Simon was wild, but I should have been more prepared. He’s been on stall rest all week, and it was really windy. Of course he’s going to be a little hot. Despite his initial awfulness, we had some good moments. I bought 101 Arena Exercises after Christmas and have been picking out exercises that I think would help us and then bringing them up on my iPhone’s Kindle app when I’m at the barn. Today we did an exercise that consisted of: walk, sit trot for 2 strides, post trot for four strides, sit trot for two strides, walk and repeat. It was a really good exercise to do to work on his downward transitions (which suck), train him to listen to my seat more (which I suck at, I tend to compensate with pulling and I have to stop that) and to work on his basic obedience. He responded really well, and a few of the trot to walk transitions were excellent.
One of my goals for January is to end every ride with a relaxed, stretchy trot on a loose rein. Today I was a little terrified to do this because of how up he was, but I figured a goal was a goal… and I’m glad I did! Despite being kind of a snot off and on, as soon as I asked him to trot and lowered/opened up my hands he stretched his neck down and out for about 4-5 strides at a time. This is a first for him, and I was thrilled. Watching the George Morris flat clinics and working on these transitions really helped!
I also had an aha moment where I decided I need to start riding with normal stirrup irons for a while. I have been using the Herm Sprenger 4 way jointed stirrups for years, but since I rode in a school horse saddle today I kept the normal stirrups on. I felt like my leg was a lot more stable and I didn’t have any ankle/knee pain I used to experience (the reason I went for the Sprenger stirrups in the first place). Despite being in a saddle way too small for me (I need a long/forward flap and my knee was well over the knee roll) I felt fairly secure all things considered. I guess Georgie is right after all… no gimmicks!
Now I’m laying in bed trying not to feel bad, because I have got to take down all of our Christmas decorations today. I also checked my work email to find a nasty gram from a co-worker (who I hate) which resulted in a nasty gram from my boss. I almost hope I feel worse tomorrow so I can justify staying home and just working from the comfort of my bed. I hate drama llamas!