Evil Mind Tricks
In light of my recent post, I have found a glimmer of motivation to get my butt back in the saddle. Sierra's adjusted to being barefoot, I've slowly chipped away at improving the footing at the barn, and her weight is back up (ahem, she's quite round now) and as such, it has improved my saddle fit so we will hopefully alleviate sore shoulders as a result. In addition to all that, we have had a weirdly mild winter.. like, it's December and I considered taking off my over-sized sweater and stripping down to my spaghetti strap tank top while I rode last night and I took the hood off my clipped horse before I turned her out.... usually by now we would have experienced at least one -40C (-40F) snap and I think the coldest it's gotten has been -25 with the wind overnight. Weird, but definitely not complaining!
It's Wednesday today and I've ridden twice in the past 4 days. I had hoped to ride one more of those days, but with an unexpected Vet visit with my Cat he required being monitored for 24 hours afterwards once we returned home so that put a damper on things. Regardless, it may seem like something to scoff at for those who ride regularly but looking back the last time I rode was 3 weeks prior, so it's been a while. I'm so exhausted after work as well as various social engagements I have to attend, it makes me question how people manage to produce a quality horse on top of it all... it's something I've yet to master, clearly.
Our first ride back was on Saturday morning and I chose to keep it to a walk.
Cue scoff #2 There is honestly so much both Sierra and I can work on in the walk that I enjoy our walking rides, and I incorporated them quite regularly when I was riding frequently. I have a sneaking suspicion our Canter will still be absolute garbage, but I like to believe that all this work in the Walk and Trot we're doing will improve the Canter as her overall strength and suppleness improves, so it's not a loss.
|She is a little round.. She did have a Chaser clip but her neck, despite being covered, is almost fully grown out|
While most of the ride on Saturday was spent just moving her body around and stepping into the contact as well as working through the 'scary end' without developing tension in myself to better support her through the sticky moments where she looks to me for reassurance (which was a struggle bus, but I think I did ok). Her quarter sheet fell off her butt in the scariest spot of the arena and I didn't even notice until we circled back around because it didn't phase her, so I think a lot of it is just her trying to bluff me a little, but ultimately she is a Thoroughbred and they are great at getting themselves wound up over nothing, including situations that started out as trying to buffalo someone. As a result, I've taken a fairly soft approach where I reassure her with my leg and voice through the scary end as like most TB's, muscling them through scary things often leads to an explosion.. and mama does not like explosions.
Tuesday I decided to push myself to ride again, even though Netflix and a blanket fort were calling my name. A friend with a similar lack of motivation and I were chatting yesterday and we both agreed that getting ourselves to the barn is like pulling teeth, but once we're there we have a great time and yesterday was no exception. Expecting a ride much like the previous one, Sierra was fan-fricken-tastic. We didn't do anything exciting (Survived. We Survived. That's what we did), but she was just so lovely. Once again, I rode like a Flag of Surrender blowing in the wind as my elusive floating-hands and stiff lower back have returned but she was so willing to be a good girl. Don't get me wrong, there are still monsters lurking at the far end (which, by the way the arena is TINY so I don't know if it even classifies as a far end), but I'm so happy with her. The first two circles of trot were absolutely atrocious where her fugly can't-go-forward-TB-jig took place, but after a growl and a boot she met me with a saucy head shake (because just agreeing isn't very mareish of her) and she was happy to go to work from there.
|Impulsion comes from the scary corner, you know|
We walked and trotted circles, laps, diagonals and some 2-loops and all the while she tried as best she could given her lack of fitness and sub-par pilot, and she did so willingly. Granted in all reality, there are so many things that need vast improvement before considering leaving this teeny-tiny barn with a Population of 1 (me), but I just can't help but fall in love with this girl more and more every day. It's rides like this and knowing I'm already half way to achieving my December Goals that have me hungry for more, which means my evil mind-tricks are working!
|The cutest, fuzziest of ears|