BRONWEN HEALY PHOTOGRAPHY

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26 July 2013

Getting Back in the Saddle?

I'm sitting watching Jessica ride. The last of the sunshine is gone and it feels very cold all of a sudden. The white pony, Tinsel, she's riding has reminded me, as I pick the long white hairs off my black jumper, not to buy a grey horse.

The last couple of days have felt a little gloomy, and today I found myself struggling with that subject of getting back in the saddle.  It was cold and foggy this morning and my neck has been pinching and sore.  I have to admit the cold, on top of the 3 week break in my routine and my riding, made me feel like making excuses, initially telling myself my day was too busy to work Freelance. But not doing the things you know will make you feel better, because you're too complacent, tentative or just feeling downcast doesn't do me any good. My show jumping lesson had already been cancelled on Monday because Grant was busy. 

First I tried to stay focused on my bookwork for a couple of hours, and tried not to look at things that only make me feel yukky. Then after lunch I rounded up my saddle, bridle, lungeing and grooming things (yes with the lovely Black Caviar kit) and, with the sun now shining brightly, I hopped in Dan, patted his dashboard and drove to the paddock.

Freelance is still in Rosie's paddock. And we're still working out the best way of doing things. Rosie carried on as we left. Freelance was jumpy but not too silly and we headed for the arena. Watching the tremendous sets of bucks she kept doing made me glad I hadn't tried to be a hero by just jumping straight on her. We all know how that would have ended.

She was so fresh and silly, and so prone to bucking that I had to make her work hard, and keep her concentrating on the lunge. Lots of little then big circles.  And lots of transitions.  She kept wanting to look, bog eyed, into the monster's corner, and each time she did and then bucked, she had to work on a smaller circle, and use her hindquarters.  After about 30 mins on the lunge i jumped on her.

My physio had suggested this morning, that due to my pinched nerve, perhaps I should only ride for 10 mins. This is easier said than done when the mare decides she is up to no good. Truth be told, when I did get on, she wasn't all bad. But we went full arena, that made her want to duck and weave at her own reflection in the mirrors. Then she determinedly wanted to canter on the spot when I changed rein across the diagonal and we changed to that dodgy left side of mine.

Finally I said "OH JUST GO FORWARD!!" and put my legs on her, and she said said, mutinously and through clenched teeth,  "I can't!!!  Oh maybe I might" and then finally "Oh ok, I will". And I thought on the whole, we did pretty well, and she finished off with a long rein in the trot on a circle, with that lovely bouncy stretching down trot that tells me she's worked properly for me, and then we hurried back.And yes, of course I feel much better for riding. 

Postscript:

I'm sitting at my desk, with a cup of tea and a Harry Potter DVD on (ok, so I don't feel like anything complicated tonight), while Maxie plays with a pipe cleaner that the kids haven't packed up from their craft box.  I'm going through the images in a book being published soon.  It's an amazing book. 



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