(I do apologize for the temporary silence since my past post, but as you know, it is BIRTHDAY MADNESS WEEK so I've been out every single night raising a little hell. I finally had a rest night last night and spend it catching up on some oh-so-needed sleep. Tonight, we head into NYC for a big party and then I get to spend tomorrow sightseeing around the City. How is it that I've been in CT a year but haven't been??)
Spring is doing its very best to come to CT. It was nearly 60 degrees yesterday, and it will be today and tomorrow too. All the horses are feeling serious spring fever, and so am I. Not only has this week been fantastic for birthday celebrations, but it's been an amazing one on the Gogo front as well. She's done more and worked harder this week than she has since the accident, and those legs and her soundness are holding up. Since it's been so warm, the legs do tend to fill in funny, lumpy ways, but they're never unusually warm or big, and they're always variations on the same level of fill - AKA giant, ugly Windpuffs of Doom. Every day my favorite boarder and I run our hands down those legs, and every day find pretty much the same thing. Quite honestly, I think I just have to relearn what is normal for her. The legs will never, ever look normal again. They just won't. It's just a matter now of determining what the new normal is.
I hadn't been on Gogo in three days when I finally got back in the saddle on Thursday. I hadn't wanted to be off of her for that long, but that was just how things worked out last week, so I accepted it as such and moved on. I had a really fantastic dressage-y ride on Friday - finally, we are really approaching "real" dressage work versus just walk trot canter on the bit for X amounts of time. She was a bit fussy and a bit bouncy, but once she settled in, she gave me some really nice moments, including three broken canter circles to the right (she kept breaking at the same spot), and three CONSECUTIVE canter circles to the left! That's way more canter than she's been able to do, and she actually took a contact for part of it and maintained it. And she felt physically capable of it, stronger - like she could have kept going without a problem. I left it as that, did some more trotwork, and let her cruise around on the buckle for awhile. I've not really been able to do that much in the indoor since there are door monsters and a loose rein usually means it takes that much longer to stop her when she flees from the door monster. She's actually been quite good down there, but much like last year in March, she's just done with the indoor. Just... done. Remember when she did this last year? Very similar situation here, except we weren't really backsliding mentally, just physically. (Not anymore!) So my solution to that since it's been so gorgeous outside? RIDE OUTSIDE!
Saturday we hacked. We hacked way further off the property than we'd ever been - hell, it was the first time hacking off the property at all. I've been limiting her to the small hills and trails around our property, but since the grass has been so soft and went, I was unable to ride on it at all. Instead, I decided to challenge her a little with the lower-grade hillwork and try something a little more intense. We hacked for the same period of time plus 5 minutes, same as we always do, but went allll the way up the road on a small but steady incline to the first four-way stop, and back again. She was SO HAPPY! Ears pricked, big march in her step, loop in the reins. It was early - maybe 8:30am - and the sun was glittering through the trees, the weather still chilly. It felt just like old times, and it was beautiful. And I'll be doing it again today. :D
These past two days, I've continued to push, just a little, without actually pushing, if I can explain that. Our enormous and gorgeous outdoor has FINALLY thawed and dried enough for it to be ridden on, but is still a little wet and squashy - think giant turfy sponge - but I've been letting the boarders out there for some limited riding. I also got to ride out, much to my joy (and to Gogo's too), but instead of putting on dressage tack and continuing in that way, I decided to have a little fun. Out came the jump saddle, jacked up stirrups and all! Since the footing is still soft up there - by no means turf-able, just softer than the stuff in the indoor and much wetter - I decided to let her get used to it and buzz around with me in my half-seat versus stress her body our trying to compensate for correctness in new footing while the tendon is still in the final stages healing. And WHEEEEEEE! She was FRESH, but SO good. She had a huge park trot going - you knew she would! - and was shaking her head all over the place, something she never does. She also, of course, had to throw in a little Gogo flavor, and did what the other rider in the ring affectionately called a handstand: a backcracking vertical bronc buck with her head between her knees! She NEVER bucks unless she's feeling ridiculously good and fresh, so I was smiling as she went plunging down the long side from there, striking out with both front legs every canter stride. The other boarder's comment? "That was cute." Oh Gogo. She also displayed her more studdish side, spooking away from something and doing this (which I know because I saw a flash of pastel blue bell boot in front of me!), then did the Execute Stallion Rear Program and bounced up and down, shaking her head and waving her front legs like any colt at play might. She then came down and stood totally immobile with her ears pricked, as if to say, "Sorry mom... just, man! I feel like a woman." Oh Gogo...
Yesterday I continued on the theme of doing-something-productive-without-feeling-like-being-productive, and used my jump tack again, letting her have a looser rein and moving at fair speed around the ring. No smaller circles, no complicated movements, just power and speed. She offered a canter at some point, and I got up in my half seat and let her. And she felt GOOD. She felt SO good. Our outdoor is enormous and she went once, twice, three times around with no problem before I pulled her up. We went the other way and same thing - a big, powerful canter, bigger and stronger than ever, no hesitations anywhere. I know we weren't actually going that fast but to me, it felt like flying. It felt like nothing in the world. She even started to consider breaking a sweat, and so did I, the first time that's happened since September. We finished the ride with a hack on the buckle up the driveway... I haven't been able to let her have such a loose rein outside yet.
Truly a good week. Truly, truly.
As for today, we hack again, and then Gogo get her Rabies and Coggins pulled. I am feeling really paranoid about spring shots this year - who wouldn't after all that reaction nonsense - but we are going to seriously space everything about and take every precaution we can. Yeesh though... not looking forward to it, not at all.
You won't hear from me for a few days since I am off to NYC, and then Friday is my actual BIRTHDAY! Who's excited I'm excited!
The first clovers are coming up, birds are chirping, sun is shining... spring is almost here!!
The very special Ridgeway weekend
3 days ago