Due to me struggling a bit with just…life and everything that has been going on in my personal life, I haven’t felt up to riding since the 14th, when I last posted. My anxiety has followed me straight to the barn and I haven’t done much to push through. Honestly, I’ve made no attempt to get over the anxiety and so I’ve just gone up to feed the horses as quickly as possible then left to go home and sit alone.
Obviously, I am a ray of sunshine.
I used the hot weather as an excuse as to why I haven’t ridden. Then I used the rain. Then, this week turned heavenly and it’s been in the lower 70’s, sunny skies, a beautiful breeze…and I’ve been left with a sound horse that is very much ready to be back into work and no excuses for why I can’t ride. I’ve been over analyzing my horse, as I’m so prone to doing, afraid that I’m somehow going to set his recovery back but really, there’s not much to recover now. His abscess is growing out really quickly, he’s been sound for all of September, and he’s felt good. It’s been very obvious, especially in the last few days, because he’s been bucking and galloping in the pasture, working himself harder than I ever do under saddle, and what do ya know, he’s not dying or lame or miserable. On a bright note, I haven’t been feeling my usual anxiety over “what happens if he acts bad/throws a buck/bolts/spooks” after being off of work so long. So, there’s that. Y’all know I struggle majorly with this type of stuff, and my blog has really become a diary of a really anxious horse rider who is attempting to get over that and actually make something of herself in the horse world but my anxiety tends to get in the way of that. But this time around, my anxieties were based on my horse and his well-being and not necessarily how terrified I am of getting back on him since June…I’ve found a nice level of trust with Red, maybe from spending so much time on the ground with him, maybe because we all thought that something could’ve been very wrong with him back in August, or maybe the break was just good for both of us and we’re coming back into work and training a bit saner. Either way, I’m not complaining.
So, I hopped on my horse yesterday and I figured, depending on how he acted, I was going to bite the bullet and actually get him going a bit, start building his muscle back up, see where his stamina is at, and go from there. Turns out, Red really hasn’t lost much of his stamina at all and instead of me taking things slow for him, it was kind of all about me catching up with him. I haven’t done any type of hard riding since June, y’all, and I was honestly struggling to be a decent rider because wow, I’m not in that great of shape anymore. 😉 Red and I made a few laps around the arena at the walk, and I had to continuously bump him and remind him not to trot or canter during this time because I really want to take things somewhat slowly for next few rides. Finally, I loosened my reins up a bit and let him have at it, and we essentially did an extended trot around the round pen with him breaking into the canter about three times and me slowing him down and trying to get some sort of decency back into the trot and get him to chill out a bit. This continued on for awhile, and yeah, he had a lot of energy. He wasn’t being bad, not at all, just rushing through everything like a kid that had just had about 5 mountain dews and a bunch of candy. 😉
Despite his headset being a bit higher than I like for the first few minutes, I really, really loved this trot. He was extremely energetic and put a lot of effort into moving well, and it felt great. Finally, I got him to lower the head just a tad and get a pretty nice trot, one that I’m really, really proud of considering he’s been off of work for so long.
We did have one moment of typical bad behavior from Red, where he decided that he wanted to bolt to the gate and pulled his little crowhop and a tiny buck, but I kept him moving and didn’t really even think about it until I dismounted. It was very obviously a “I still have a lot of energy and I want to move FASTER!” type of thing and not an “ouch” thing, and sure enough, 15 minutes or so later when I turned him out into the field he went bronc and ran around like a crazy dude.
So…first REAL ride back, pretty darn good.