First, let me start off by saying YAY HORMONES! After a mere 4 days, I’ve once again got a horse that can focus on work, rather than being all flightly and distracted by the mounting block/pole/ray of sunshine/lump of footing, and is happy to use her back working, so that we’re starting off with “discussing” expectations about being able to bend, rather than being able to use ones’ back and not go around like a rabid giraffe. So tomorrow, I’m going to call my vet’s office to get a bottle, so that I can do monthly shots myself. Should make our lives a lot easier, when we can start from an actual working point.
Not yet knowing how the progesterone had worked, I was a little apprehensive going out on Monday–firstly because I wasn’t sure what effect, if any, the injection would have, and secondly, because due to weather, she’s pretty much had 4 days off, because I’m not going to count moseying around bareback as “working.” Plus, while they’ve been going out, it’s not like they’re actually doing much out in the field; there’s kind of a triangle of hoof tracks from trough/gate to the two hay piles. We did a lot of walking to start off, and I was really pleasantly surprised and how happy she was to relax and walk around, working through some really basic big loopy serpentines and circles. Then I asked for a trot, and once again, a nice relaxed, back-engaged gait, happily moving through some circles and loose serpentines and changes of direction. I didn’t really ask for much, just wanted to see what I had under me after time off and the progesterone, plus it was pretty cold, and I just wanted to move her around a little. Maybe 20 minutes worth of work, and it was good, nothing difficult, and I think she was just happy to be moving on decent footing.
Today I decided to ask for a little more. Cally was definitely resistant when I started to ask for a little counter-flexion around a circle, to the point that I just had to sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. And eventually get a bit of it, reward profusely, and go do something else for a bit. And rinse repeat half a dozen times. So I decided to try a bit of canter to loosen her up, and it became obvious that it wasn’t so much resistance as total body stiffness from lack of really moving around much. Seriously, the first four or five strides, it felt like she’d forgotten how to canter. Then she just felt so discombobulated, I just sat down in the saddle, opened my inside rein, and put her on a big circle and let her go around and around until she’d worked herself out of it. Eventually, we got a few steps of really nice, almost round, and I called that great for the day, and came back to a walk for a breather. I really needed to adjust my expectations, not just because of the amount of aerobic work I want us to do in the cold, but of the effect that not moving around much, and moving around on awkward footing (I made the mistake of trying to go for a hike with Daisy A Dog yesterday…it was more like all-terrain ice skating!), has on our bodies. So we went back to the walk, and just did a lot of basic suppling work, shoulder-in and -out both directions, and big loopy changes of direction and bend. Eventually I asked for a little bit of it at the trot, and it came much easier, and we finished with a couple of really nice, happy circles.
Unfortunately, do to yet more Arctic-level temperature forecasts, we’re not going to have our usual Friday lesson this week, and my work schedule changes next week, so while I’ll be able to be out on a much more regular schedule to ride, it’s going to put a crimp in my plans for lessons with Barbara, since I can only ride in a narrow window of time in the late mornings during the week. Fingers crossed, we can get something sorted out for some Saturdays, and get Cally and me back on course. Surely this weather must be about over, right?