Rode the Big Horse
It was a stunningly beautiful day, with temperatures in the upper 60's F. and plenty of sunshine.
I had to be careful not to be captured by the lure of all kinds of outdoor stuff. It was Election Day, so I went to vote in the late morning. Before that, the electric company guys came to trim some branches off my wires.
As much as the residents and I have complained about their customer service communications during the storm's power outages, I must admit that when they are not in emergency mode, they are really responsive. I was afraid I was going to have to hire a tree surgeon to get rid of the branches, but a call to PSEG (my electric company), brought a same day response. A workman came by to look the situation over. He then called the central office and was told they would send tree trimmers to take care of my problem. That was yesterday. Today, the trimmers were here and sure enough, they took down the offending branches and trimmed a few more that might be a problem later on. I am delighted and it takes a big worry off my mind for the time being.
Voting done, I decided to hold in my enthusiasm and limit my riding to one horse. Yesterday, my knees were rather sore and "tight," probably as a result of my trail ride on Chance. No biggie, but definitely some protest from the joints. As much as I might like to ride more, I am trying hard to be conservative here. The exercise of wrapping my leg around a horse, flexing and using my muscles to either post or absorb the horse's movement, and just the general exercise of riding is surprisingly taxing. I've never quite stopped riding and stopped some kind of vigorous exercise (such as swimming) for so long before. I have to face the fact that I need to build my overall fitness back up gradually. (Speaking of swimming, I think I may go this week. Have to be careful not to overdo there too!!)
So, today I decided to get on Tucker. Interesting. My knees are not quite as comfortable on him as on Chance. They have to work a little more to shape themselves around him. But I didn't have any major seat or balance issues.
I was a little less confident on him, mostly because of our long history of rather "explosive" rides. He's been a good boy for quite a while, with just minor protests about cantering due to his chronic hock issues, but those bad moments are never quite erased from my memory. I just take a deep breath when I get on, focus on relaxing so I can ride the horse I am on today instead of worrying about yesterday. As usual, it worked out just fine and Tucker was well behaved.
We worked quite a bit at the walk, and I added some leg yield and half pass to the mix to keep it interesting. Then we began to trot.
Tucker wanted to "hold my hand." He was not at all content to go around on a loose rein, but pushed out into the bit looking for contact. Once again, interesting. I took the rein, with some fairly heavy contact, and he pushed forward with some energy in the trot.
He was using my hand for balance to some degree, so I would not give him high marks as a properly working second level dressage horse, but his wanting to be on the bit was a positive. In the trot, we did a little leg yield, and shoulder-in on each rein. He was very willing to give me lateral movement off my leg in both directions.
After about 15 minutes or so, I dismounted unsaddled him, gave him his obligatory carrot, fed everyone, and then went out to do some chores. I set two goals: to poo pick the arena, and to trim some of the weeds and branches away from the interior of the arena fence. I guess I spent an hour or so trimming and picking.
The falling sun reminded me of how much I dislike that change back to Standard Time. When I was still working, I'd have to rush home from school to catch the last of the daylight for a quick trail ride every fall. Now, of course, I can ride almost any time of the day I choose. But, like the memories of naughty Tucker, the memories of racing to beat quick sunsets lingers still.
Sometimes it's not so easy to forget.