Yay!!! A week off school! How very nice and totally welcome. I got in two good rides, back to back even which is a nice bonus, with Diego this week. Went over to Beth's house and worked in her round pen. I've been watching a bunch of Clinton Anderson stuff on DVR and realized that one of our biggest weaknesses was lack of consistent forward motion. I also tend to "clutch" the reins too much with some of the minor things Diego does (a bad reaction that Sinatra trained into me) and I need to learn to relax and let go a little bit more. So off to the safe confines of the round pen for some schooling for both of us.
The goal was for the first day was: one trip around the round pen at the trot on a loose rein. Thursday evening found us going around and around, me with the reins long and loose - with the self imposed rule to not pick them up unless he got too naughty. My poor little legs got a WORK OUT and I felt like I had run several miles by the time we were done from kick, kick, kicking him to go. Poor Dig - he knows I want him to trot, but he's just not overly sure of the whole thing yet. He'll go along for a few steps, then suddenly throw on the brakes or scoot forward, turn and stop. Hhrrmmm.... So I practiced flopping all over, "posting" at the walk, doing a two-point at the walk, and generally not just riding "centered". I think part of his issue is that he's VERY smooth at the trot, so I don't generally have to post it, but when I start to rock back to sit his trot more, he reads that as "whoa" from my seat and then complies. Or if I go to post, he thinks I'm getting off balance and stops. Hhhmm, so my problem is he's too well trained? =) After about an hour, we made our goal of one whole lap around on a loose rein, so I called it a night.
Came back the next morning. Same lesson, goal this time - two or maybe even three laps around. He picked up the trot a lot more willingly this time. He took to cutting across the round pen (remember, I'm still not steering) and then hooking a tight 180-turn, which he would always have to slow down and then walk out of. So I started using some outside rein to keep him on the fence line and end that little trick. At one time, he would go along but then hit the brakes in the same spot each time around, so finally I got ready for him and just booted him HARD right as I felt him start to check up. He jumped forward, bucked twice, and then trotted twice around the round pen on a loose rein. =) Hey look! We found forward finally!!! After that, he "got" what I wanted and we were able to make several more laps around in each direction. My legs weren't nearly as tired today when I was done either (I was about ready to resort to a crop or rommel).
Saturday, I did one of my favorite things and volunteered for a ride, the Rides of March to be exact. I got to vet scribe (my favoritest job) for Dr. Sue McCartney. Even though the weather was cold and windy, a good time was had by all. There was one scary incident at the start of the 50 where a rider had a stroke and LifeFlight had to come out and take her away, but she is recovering and doing better now. Other than that, the day went without incident and I was super nice to be back in the Endurance scene and getting to talk and visit with people (and catch up on all the gossip). =)
I then spent all day Sunday in bed and barely got out to feed myself. Maybe I'm not quite fully recovered yet.... The meds are gone but I'm still having some occassional issues and my stamina just isn't back up to par. I had to force feed myself Sunday and felt like crap most of the day Monday, but things got better as the week went on.