I got stuck in traffic on the way home from school yesterday. US Route 1 is not my favorite road through NJ and I need to drive a section of it every day to get to school. There are other routes I could take, but they lead me out of the way by miles and require my taking the NJ Turnpike.
A word about the Turnpike....one of my other "not favorite roads." And one entrance is 4 miles south in the direction away from school and the next entrance is off Route 18 which is nearly at the school already. Hence, despite its being a somewhat better road to take than US 1, there is simply no point.
So, yesterday, on the way home, I hit US 1 at a standstill. As far as I could see up ahead there were red brake lights. I have no idea how far the jam stretched. I had to stay on the highway at least until I crossed the Raritan River, but then I exited on to 18, hoping to take the back way home. Unfortunately, I was not the only person with that idea. 18 was nearly as solid a jam of brakelights itself. The traffic was moving a bit more than it was on 1, though, to eventually, I crossed the Turnpike, and managed to get off on a side street through a housing development, wend my way to another side road, across another somewhat jammed more major road, through a small town and onto the country road that crosses mine about 6 miles further on.
A drive which should have taken me 20-25 minutes was over 45 minutes long.
No big deal except that I had to be at church for the Maundy (Holy) Thursday service by 6:30. While I had some time to spare, it certainly wasn't enough to do any but the basic horsey activities.
That meant feeding the Boys, doing just a little stall tending--though not much--checking to see if everyone was OK, then coming back in for a quick bite to eat.
The church service commemorates the night of the Last Supper and ends with the vision of Christ on the cross. It is a tenebrae service, or a service of shadows at my church where the lights are gradually turned off, candles are extinguished, and at the end the whole congregation sits in darkness before taking communion. It is quite beautiful, and quite sad at the same time. The cross in front of the church is also draped with a black strip of cloth, creating quite a visual reminder of the significance of the night.
Two churches in town join together for the service as they will today for a Good Friday service. The two choirs join for an anthem, this time called, "Oh, Mary Don't You Weep." I had a solo descant, so it was really important that I be there, perky, and on time. Everything went quite well with the music, so I am pleased, and the service, as I said, was quite moving.
Afterwards we had a short choir rehearsal for Easter Sunday, and then out little group went out to a diner for a late dinner.
So far, today is gorgeous with the promise of some nice warm weather. I will be giving a riding lesson in a bit, and hope to get some work done outside.
I also hope to get something done with a horse or two. I will be interested to see how Tucker feels now that his shoes have been off for over a month and he's been on the magnesium for about two weeks. He looks fine tromping through the mud, but the true test is under saddle. I do have his Cavello boots in case I want to do some more serious riding, but for now, neither one of us is really fit for a good workout.
Friday update: I gave a lesson this morning and since I had the arena all nicely set up to teach a dressage test, later in the afternoon, I rode my Boys out there.
Tucker is definitely not comfortable on his feet. He was very uneven and a little limpy in the well groomed, sand arena. I took him back inside and put his boots on. It made a tremendous difference. He was moving out so much more comfortably. As it has been more than two months since we pulled his shoes, I am not at all optimistic that he will adjust to shoeless. I have pretty much decided to put his shoes back on in the front.
At any rate, once he was booted, I gave him a short workout and rode training level test 1, just for something to do. No problem, of course, although he really wasn't particularly round and on the bit, but he was obedient. It was surprising to see how sweated he was after a short session, however. I guess the combination of not being fit, still not being fully shed out, and the high temperatures--I was in a short sleeved tee shirt and felt warm--up around 70F--did us in.
After I rode Tucker, I saddled up Chance for an equally short work session. Again, he has improved considerably since our last serious schooling, but he is not yet steady on the bit. When he is down and round, he was quite lovely to ride, but now and again, his head pops up and things fall apart. He does love to canter, though, and perfers it to trot.
We also rode through training level test 1. Obedience was excellent, with transitions up and down right on my cue. If I can get him steady into the bit and more supple through his body, he will be ready to show early this season if I ever get the urge to go somewhere with him.
Right now there is a worry in NJ about an Equine Herpes outbreak. Apparently one large show was already canceled. I certainly don't want to take any risks with my Boys' health so if we stay home that will be fine with me. Besides, I have no ambition at all at the moment.
Besides every test I ride here scores well over 80%, so why should I pay a judge to tell me otherwise?? *G*