I got the sickness. Sunday afternoon, after my great rides, I could feel it coming on. Then I missed a few days at work and was a little too weak to get to the barn on the other days.
Thankfully Friday I was feeling a little better. And the weather was really nice. I didn’t have a lot of expectations, though, so I grabbed Bear and thought we might just spend a while hanging out with my on his back.
Once I had him up to the barn I really thought that might be the case as the pasterns in his hind legs were super swollen. The horses are still in the winter lot, and it is mired in mud and manure, so I don’t think he’s moving like he should be.
We rode over in the middle pasture. I don’t think we’ve been over there for about a year, so it was fun to ride there again. Bear had some good energy early on, so it wasn’t long before we were trotting around. And after just a few minutes, Robin said to look at his legs. The swelling was completely gone. That made me feel a lot better.
We kept up our walking and trotting. Bear was feeling friskier and friskier and kept hopping into the lope, and I had to keep shutting him down. I was happy to lope, too, but I get to decide when we do it. Instead we trotted some big laps around the fence line. It is fun to just move out at a ground covering trot for a while. After that we kept up the trotting. I would pick a fence post across the pasture and trot out to it. We’d stop, dwell for a moment, rock back and pick a new post that fell into my line of vision.
This was a tough exercise for us. I was keeping the reins long and loose and working hard to line Bear up with just my legs. It was a windy day and Steen and Robin were also running around, so he had other places he’d want to be than the particular fence post I randomly selected, but I was able to get him to each point in a fairly straight line. The only times I picked up on the reins were when he wanted to lope.
So finally, I asked him to lope. And it was an unbelievably smooth and wonderful lope. We did a nice sized circle to the right and just enjoyed ourselves for quite a few laps. When we stopped Bear just kept licking his lips. For the rest of the ride we mixed in a lot of loping. Nothing was as good as that first round, but we still got some good work done. I challenged him more by asking him to move around in different shapes. The ground slopes down in a few corners of the pasture, and I didn’t want to lope him down those hills (maybe later, as Steen wasn’t having any trouble with them), so we loped in big triangles and funny trapezoids. He was stiff at times, but ultimately he was happy to move out and I could always supple him up after a few strides.
We ended the ride by walking out through the big pasture and back up the strip. We let the guys hang out and eat some grass as they haven’t had any in months.
It was a really great Friday. Robin and Steen were celebrating their 5th anniversary, and we decided to keep celebrating and went out for a couple beers and dinner. Hopefully this is the beginning of us getting healthy again and having a great spring of riding.