I’ve felt like death warmed over since the end of last week, some kind of horrible sinus infection/sore throat/sleep deprivation thing. Since it was gorgeous Saturday, I summoned all my energy reserves and made it out to the barn. Cally was fab, and we jumped a couple of tiny fences for the first time since our last lesson, just before New Year’s. I confirmed with Holly that we were good to go on my new weekly spring lesson time, noon on Mondays, and then headed back home to vegitate.
So that’s where I was starting from this morning. I skipped morning pilates, could barely breathe, and when Holly greeted me by asking if I wanted to split lesson time between Cally and Aly, I bluntly told her I’d be lucky to get through half a lesson on my own, much as I might wish otherwise. She said she’d get her chaps on while I was getting ready, so we could do a lesson that was a split of me riding and her taking over when I ran out of gas.
Fortunately, Cally really confirmed today something I sort of realized after that awful show we had a St. Christopher’s last spring, where she was just not herself and I came down with a horrible 24 hour bug that night–she knows when I’m not feeling well, and adjusts her normal sassy self down to a quiet, no-nonsense slug. Because I had to kick my horse to get her to trot today, and that is just not her. I almost hacked up a lung in the walk break between trotting and cantering. We didn’t do too much with her, just wanted to work on a big, 30M-ish circle and get her moving and listening again, just some easy changes of direction and nothing to abrupt or tightly turning.
We then incorporated a crossrail into the circle, just popping quietly over it and coming back to a trot a few steps after, easy peasy. Cally woke up a little then, but definitely not quiet full steam ahead. So Holly had me come around, first at a trot, then twice cantering, over a little vertical. Nothing crazy, just easing us back into the groove. And she was so perfect!
After that, I pulled up and told Holly she’d have to get on her, I was cooked, and managed not to collapse when I hopped off. Holly did a lot with her just trotting quietly around, taking advantage of the little jumps to just work on getting her using her hind end in to the jump, and staying quiet. Which, unlike with me, she didn’t not always do! But it was definitely a gesture of exuberance and happiness to be jumping, and Holly was laughing as she rode her around. Obviously, they were looking perfect!
So while I am recuperating from this martian death flu, Cally’s going to get at least one more school with Holly. For my lesson next week, depending on how I’m feeling, we may do something like this again, and split the lesson a bit between pro tuneup and me riding. I don’t think it’s going to take a whole lot of pro rides to get her back into shape, but as we figured out today, it’s been quite a while since she’s had any pro rides, due to Holly having a baby! So Cally’s definitely due for a bit of pro work anyway, and there’s no better way to do it than have her schooled up right while coming back in to work.
Which means the outlook for the year is a lot more optimistic than I’d been thinking it might be a month ago. We’ve taken BEST this coming weekend off the table, because she’s just not going to be ready to go jump a course by then, but I have done entries for Ladies Sidesaddle at the two upcoming PGEC spring rated shows, for undersaddle and hack. If she’s very good at the first show, and the course looks straightforward, we may try to jump at the second of those, which would give us three more weeks of training to get ready. Not unattainable by any means, and probably a good soft goal to start with.