(WordPress ate my blog post and kicked it back to drafts with last nights work but not this morning, so if you’ve read this before, apologies!)
I had an epiphany while showering last night. (All the best thoughts happen in the shower.) I had been really down last week, feeling upset about not having much response to the job hunt, down on my writing, etc. I was thinking about having to keep applying but realized that even though my situation hasn’t changed since last week, I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t know what changed. Then I figured it out.
I’d been able to ride. I got out and rode three days in a row. I was spending time with my horse and exercising.
So, remember this Future Alex. You get depressed and not nice to yourself if you haven’t spent time with your horse. Now, onto the rides!!
Friday was the first day that it was not raining. I had no idea if the ground was going to be rideable. I figured something was going to be dry enough. The ground is hard and hopefully it would be useable.
There were a lot of people out at the barn and some people were hand walking so I figured I was going to be fine. I had to park up at the only concrete parking which was all the way across the yard. The mud was super deep in some areas and I had to pick my way across carefully. I pulled Scarlet out of the stall on my way back to the tack room. He was a bit excited and tried to rush and hop. I had to yank on him before he subsided.
I swung on and Scarlet took about 5 steps before he got excited. He exploded into mini rears and spun around moving sideways. I wasn’t worried about coming off but he was moving right toward a visible slurry of mud. I didn’t want him to slip and hurt either of us. He wasn’t listening to me at all. It took a bit and we got dangerously close to the slippery parts but I got him moving forward and around the dryish part of the barn. I was pretty tense for a while. There was a small dryer track we could walk on and it was very difficult keeping Scarlet to the good spots when he was not listening to me. He tried to jig a lot but eventually he settled down. I was able to relax gradually after that and we walked for over 30 minutes. Not the best exercise but we got out and did it.
Saturday, I was super excited to get out there. We’d had one full day of sun so I was hoping that the barn would be even drier. EVERYONE wasout at the barn. This time, we were able to park in the dirt parking lots so there was room for all the cars. I noticed the BO lunging in the front most arena as I was driving in. I have stepped foot in that arena maybe twice since moving to the barn. I thought Scarlet might be a bit of trouble to get up there but it would be worth a shot to get some actual work done.
Scarlet was still quite tense during grooming but didn’t explode when I got on. I did a lap around the barn before heading up to the front. No one was in the arena and it was perfectly dry. Scarlet was not cool with being in that arena though. There are dogs and privacy fences along two sides and they were barking a lot. We made it around by doing circles and moving the edge out further and further each time. Despite not being used to the arena, he was a very good boy.
We’d just started trotting when a lady came out with her horse and asked if we would be okay with her lunging while I rode. This was the only arena that was dry so I said yes, of course. I’m not going to selfishly hog the space when we all are paying for the use of the facilities. She started lunging in a corner and I took the other half of the arena as an oval. We did that for a bit before the western trainer came out and announced she was going to lunge within my oval as she had fifteen horses to lunge that day. I wasn’t in love with the idea but what was I going to do? Say no? A third person came out and took the other corner. So it was a busy arena.
You can pretty clearly see the two lunge circles to the right, my oval and the circle within my oval to the left.
I’m glad Scarlet is good with other horses around. The horse inside my oval was going nuts and not lunging properly so I had to keep an eye out for him. The other two horses were fine. I trotted and walked around while everyone lunged and waited until they all ended up leaving the arena. I cantered then so that we had more space to move. I called it a day then and headed back. We rode for 55 minutes, which was probably longer than we needed but I was loathe to quit. Scarlet got a lot of grain and some carrot stretches as well as his usual large handful of treats as a reward.
I borrowed a metal garden rake someone had at the barn to try and move some of the mud around in Scarlet’s stall. I couldn’t cart it out and replace it with dry stuff but I thought turning it and moving it into a more even layer might help it try faster. Even if it doesn’t, the effort makes me feel a bit better about it.
Sunday was another gloriously sunny day. The jump arena was open but had some slick corners so I figured I’d just go back to the front arena since we’d had no problem there the day before. Scarlet needed a tow from one of the other horses to walk up there for some reason and he was more spooky than the day before. We got around the arena by the same method and I focused on moving forward and relaxing. I really wanted him to stretch down at the walk and trot since we’d ridden so hard the day before. It took a while but eventually we got some good figure eight stretching trot. I did canter a few laps each way but called it at about 35 minutes.
The grassy area wasn’t too wet so Scarlet got a good twenty minutes of yanking up the nice long stems before I put him back in his pen. He got more carrot stretches, which he is already starting to look for whenever I move to his side or by his feet. I can definitely see which moves are harder for him. It matches what I feel on his back which is good. I raked his stall again. I can’t really say if my efforts from the day before helped but it was overall less squishy so I’m going to tell myself it did. It makes me feel better about the ache in my back and shoulders. Raking is hard work!
We have more rain coming at the end of the month. I doubt everything is going to completely dry out before then. I’m going to try to make the most of the sunny time that I have and get out to do something with Scarlet as often as I can. Gotta get my daily dose of vitamin horse after all.