And, that’s up! And finally, I feel like I’m back on that track. After a crazy year of life getting in the way, I feel like I’m finally settling back into my riding routine, and appreciating it and enjoying it more than ever. I’m slowing down and spending the quality time scratching ears (and in Liam’s case, nostrils…) and riding without any pressing goals. Right now it’s just about getting back in a routine, bonding with my horses, getting some exercise, and putting the muscles back on all of us. Each day, I do as much as I feel up to, and if one of the boys feels tired, we take it easy. Right now there is no reason to push, no reason to rush, and no reason to do anything other than enjoy the beautiful fall weather and be grateful I get to spend the time at the barn. Each day, I feel like just the fact that I’m at the barn is a victory, and if I ride one or both horses, even if we don’t do much, it’s more than we did for the last few weeks. Literally anything is progress at this point, and it feels amazing.
Since the big move last Saturday, I’ve ridden every day except for Monday, when the barn is closed. The day we moved in, both the boys got their feet done just minutes after arriving. I was a little concerned how they would behave for it with the excitement of a new barn, but they were over due because of some farrier drama, so when old farrier who is once again my farrier said he could do it on Saturday I took the opportunity so the boys would be ready to go back to work! They both were perfectly behaved, I was so proud of them! Following that, I took Liam for a ride on the trail that goes around the farm with two other ladies that ride there (yay, making some new friends!!). It was a beautiful afternoon, and Liam was so happy to be out exploring. It wasn’t a real long ride, but it was therapeutic. Then they helped me unpack my things and get set up in the tack room.
Sunday I rode Remy in the HUGE outdoor arena. I felt like it was another sort of test, maybe not what some people would have done, but after he’d had a month off, he got one night to settle into the new barn, I hopped on his back, and off we went! And he couldn’t have been more perfect. Again, we took it kinda easy, trotting big easy laps around, mixing in walk breaks frequently. We cantered just a little at the end. It was the biggest ring I’ve ever ridden him in, and for the first time in ages, we had a big outdoor ring with no jumps to navigate, just lots of open room. I figured once I got him cantering he might wake up and want to run a little, and although I didn’t particularly want to, I figured a little of that might be good for him. So with a deep breath, I asked him to canter, and off we went. And he gently rolled around about 3/4 of the ring, giving me the loveliest uphill feeling, then smoothly broke into a trot with a sigh as if to say “Sorry, mom, that’s all I have today!” so I patted him and walked him out, immensely satisfied with our first ride back, and SO proud of the amazing horse he’s become!
Monday the barn was closed so the boys got the day off. Tuesday I rode Liam around the big outdoor, and he too was perfect. We trotted laps until he felt tired, then took breaks. We cantered just a little each way at the end, then went for a walk on the trail around the farm. Then I rode Remy in the indoor arena for the first. It was awesome. The arena is very large, and has huge windows all along both long sides. During the day the arena is bright with sunlight, and at night, one side of windows were closed and provided a reflection almost as good as having mirrors. It was awesome to be able to check my position and see how his body was positioned. We trotted and cantered a bit more than Sunday, and I pushed all the buttons just a little, to see what worked. He wanted to get heavy on the forehand pretty quickly, but leg yield, shoulder-in, haunches-in, and half pass are still in there. Flying changes not so much, he tried but it just didn’t happen, and I didn’t push it. Again, he didn’t put a foot out of place, and I got off of him immensely satisfied.
Wednesday I got on Liam first, and quickly realized we were both feeling our Tuesday ride! He was a bit slow to get going, and my muscles started complaining rather quickly. We did just a little work, stretching at the trot, then did our walk around the farm. Instead of getting on Remy, I spent some quality time grazing and grooming them.
Thursday was Remy’s turn first, and I took him back in the big outdoor arena. Around and around we went, mixing in more serpentines, circles, and transitions than the last time. It may be wishful thinking, but I think it already feels like we’ve made a little progress. We did more canter work, and just a little bit of lateral work. With my mind set on slowly building back up, just asking for things and allowing him to give me what he can, concentrating on my own position and balance and building my strength back as well, each ride feels like success. We’re just out there, enjoying some beautiful weather and some beautiful scenery and enjoying each other’s company. I have rediscovered the joy of riding.
So here we are, back to work. All 3 of us have lost some muscle, but besides that I think we’re in pretty good shape. We have a long winter ahead, but a heated barn now, so I’m looking forward to putting all the pieces back together, and I feel really optimistic about where we’ll be come spring. I’ve started tracking my rides on a website called Fitocracy. It lets me make notes about which horse I rode and for how long, as well as what I did during the ride. I’m looking forward to using that as a tool to chart progress. I’m also tracking other workouts I’m trying to mix in, which is definitely motivating me to find time to do extra workouts, even if it’s just little things. The way it’s set up, anyone that is interested in the daily training that I’m doing with my horses can make an account (free!) and follow me, so feel free to look me up! My user name is TbRider.
Here are pics of the boys now so we can compare in a few months. I’m happy with both of their weights, but both have lacking toplines, so hopefully we’ll see that start to change!