I seem to be stuck sick at home today. All our wet weather combined with the October chill has sent my already stressed self into the thresholds of sickness. I am not feeling THAT poorly, but given the fact that today it is only 52 degrees and drizzling nonstop, I opted to stay home and nurse this thing right out of my system. I've has plenty of bronchial stress in my life, not to mention a life-threatening bout with pneumonia as a teenager, so I'd really rather keep myself as healthy as possible given the situation.
All this time in bed has given me far too much to think about. I've gotten some good things done, don't get me wrong, but the rest of the time I've spent brooding over my horse's recent schedule, and what we are going to be doing in the near future. And once again, I'm at a loss.
Readers, what would you do?
I am at complete odds with myself when it comes to working my mare. One minute I am all for a six day work schedule, complete with bits of dressage no matter what (during hacks, jumping, etc.), and then the next I am completely backed off, wondering if I should only be trail riding and nothing more. Most of the time, I am somewhere in the middle, wondering if I really should be doing more arena work and less out over the varying terrain, or doing less work period, or more work period. I'm completely at a loss.
My problem is this: I want to strengthen her without over-stressing her limbs. I want everything to get stronger, tendon and muscle alike, but I don't want to do anything that might hurt her. How much is too much? How much is too little? If I do too much, I run the risk of over stressing and possibly reinjuring her. If I do too little, I run the risk of losing the strength I've gained and potentially hurting her when I start her back up in heavier work. But I would also be giving her extra bonus time to just chill and be a horse. But since she can't go out in a big turnout yet, is it worth it to do less, or is it better to keep her moving? And do I want to work on a consistent surface, like an arena? Or will the varying surfaces she's been on do better things for her and build better muscles which can help her general locomotion altogether? I just want to have some fun with her, but what are the risks of that? I also just want to do some real work with her, but what are the risks of THAT?
I'm so at a loss. One day I am so sure, and the next I have no idea. What is too much, and what is too little? How can I go about all this without worrying constantly about whether it is in fact too much or too little? It's just these next few months that I am worried about. Once we get to December, she'll have a let-down of two or three weeks, and then we'll start up in all seriousness for next year's season. But what do I do right NOW? If I only trail ride and dork around, am I risking injury by not asking her to work her body properly? She is such a naturally crooked horse that it takes serious and steady dressage work to straighten her out.... if I only trail ride, how crookedly is she going to be marching around? Will she stress her limbs if I don't balance her body? But if I DON'T get out of the arena, will THAT stress her limbs by only doing the same thing over and over again? And will it fry her brain? (Yes.)
I really don't know what to do. I plan on giving her a few days off to just hang out while I sit and mull this over. I've not had a personal horse that made it to this stage of rehab yet, and I'm so terrified that at any second, it could all come crashing down. All I know is that today, I have a sound and happy horse. From here, I really just don't know where to go. What would you do?
Zac's 3 week update
18 hours ago