Well, I waited as long as I could. But I’ve been getting pretty cranky about not being able to ride. So yesterday I had Anastasia get on my problem child to make sure he was calm and happy about being ridden. He walked quietly without any sign of stress. So today, we did the same thing again. Tacked him up, brought him out and had Anastasija get on him for a few minutes. He stood like a rock, very relaxed for mounting. Once she was on though, he was really kind of bad. Ignored Ana and followed me like a puppy. I finally said “okay, forget it… I will just get on him myself”. So I did.
It was a total non-event really. We ambled around in the round pen for a while. Then walked around outside the round pen. Diego was quite perfect. I think all the ground driving and miscellaneous other ground work has really relaxed him. His head stayed nice and low, and he didn’t startle at anything, or tense up, or rush even for a second. I didn’t ask much of him mind you… lots of big circles, a few small circles, halts, a few steps of back up, and one step of sidepass. All of which he managed with a great deal of good cheer and no resistance at all.
My elbow held up fine of course. Since he was so relaxed, there was no stress on the joint. And I was ridiculously happy to be back on a horse 🙂 It’s been just under five months since I’ve ridden. Way way WAY too long. I wore my helmet, and my crash vest (not that either of those can protect an elbow, but…). I was glad to find that I was not at all tense. So my confidence seems pretty much undented. So far at least.
Veronica took the pics, and when I reviewed them I saw that my bad old habit of collapsing my left side has returned with a vengeance. So that’s going to take a bit of focus to overcome. Luckily, there is another Becky Hart Centered Riding Clinic coming up in April, and we are signed up for that already. I’m going to need that. And it will be good for Diego as well. He needs lots of that sort of training.
Ana rode Ares too, and this time I gave her a dressage whip to carry. With instructions NOT to use it. Just carry it. He’s a super sensitive guy, and always on high alert for humans who want to kill him. But he’s been getting a lot more confident lately and that has morphed into testing the limits to his human’s patience. He sometimes gets a little sticky about going forward when she asks. Or, his cutest trick, going home. At a walk or slow jog, but relentlessly GOING HOME when he thinks the trail ride should be over. Anyway, the dressage whip put a whole new face on Ares. He was instantly far more responsive. “Okey dokey” he said to Ana… “I’m going forward, no problem!” She asked me when she should use the whip, and I sort of laughed. “Likely never”. I think if she actually used it, he’d melt down completely. All he needs is to know it’s in her hand. Instant respect for the human. And I think Ana was pretty relieved to discover she didn’t have to use it.
Veronica did some more driving with Ella. Since Ella never raced, just jogged at slow speeds on the training track, she’s as placid and steady as can be in harness. Well… except for the fact that there were some clumps of half dead but possibly still delicious grass under her feet, and with all snow melted at the moment, the temptation was a bit too much for her a few times. Veronica practiced keeping light and steady contact on both lines. Which sounds easy, but is not at all simple to maintain. She improved considerably today though, and they started to look more like they were in harmony towards the end of the session.
So a very good day for everyone 🙂