Friday, February 23, 2024

Back in the Groove

 It seems Cinder's excitement in our first ride back wasn't a one off; she was amped for most of last week. I had my first lesson back last Friday, and Trainer A told me that she had already ridden Cin earlier in the day since she had "that look" in her eye when being turned out. And she was still really up for my lesson. Not going to lie, I had some major nerves, and almost asked A to get back on her for my lesson, but managed to push through. 

Finally got our ribbons from USHJA Outreach 

Cinder had Saturday off, and then was hoof perfect for our ride on Sunday. I did free lunge first, but from the start her eye was softer and she wasn't as manic in crossties as she had been on Friday. I even worked up the courage to use the whole arena, and trotted and cantered the ground poles set out. 

I had another lesson on Monday, and again, Cin was perfect from the get go. All the jumps had been taken down to piles of poles, so we warmed up quickly on the flat and then started trotting and cantering the piles before A set them back to jumps. We mainly trotted everything, as they were little and Cinder couldn't be bothered to actually jump them, except for a crossrail with brown poles that was evidently very impressive and she overjumped every time. I did get left behind a couple of times, but once I figured out she didn't like that jump, I was better about anticipating and staying with her. We finished by cantering a few things, and thankfully my eye didn't disappear in the few months I didn't ride. We quit early since Cin was being so good, and then I had me pose for the pic above since the sunset was so pretty. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Back in the Saddle

Last Wednesday was four weeks post surgery, and my last dose of blood thinners was last Thursday morning, so I was officially cleared to start exercise and riding again. My first ride back was on Friday. 

Best view

Even though Trainer A had worked her three times earlier in the week, Cinder was fresh on Friday. I got on, went to tighten my girth, and she did her patented move of humping her back, squealing, and paddling her front legs, which indicates she needs to buck. I immediately got off and grabbed a lunge line and let her play. I don't trust her "I need to buck" feeling when I'm 100%, let alone after 2.5 months out of the saddle. After broncing and kicking out on the line, I girded my loins and got back on. And she was great. I felt like a sack of potatoes; I could recognize what I needed to do in the saddle but couldn't make my body comply. I thought my issue would be my core, since I have three holes in my abdomen, but it was mostly my thighs that didn't want to react like normal and my timing of my aids was a little off. 

What better time than moving barns to clean out all your shit?

I wasn't nearly as sore on Saturday as I expected to be, which was nice. Cinder got some bodywork and I got back on on Sunday for a light, stretchy ride. I did free lunge her first just in case. The temperature had dropped, and it was very windy which lead to some nice groaning noises on one long side of arena. The jump shed which was attached to the indoor, collapsed during the ice storm, and the debris hasn't all been cleared away yet, so it was moving around with the wind. I felt more connected in my body, and was able to mostly time my aids correctly during our ride. I signed up for our regular Friday afternoon lesson for this week, so fingers crossed it goes well. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Program Found

 There really isn't a lot of programs that meet my criteria of price, location, and that attend both schooling and rated shows (or even just schooling shows) that have good trainers in my area. After calling three different trainers, hearing back from two of them, having one flake out on me, and going on one barn tour, I've found a new home for Cinder and I. We'll be moving March 1st to make everything easy. Trainer A doesn't have a departure date, but it most likely will be after the 1st, and I am absolutely not leaving Cinder where she is unsupervised, so to keep my stress levels somewhat manageable, March 1st it is. The new program is also significantly cheaper, so my wallet will be very happy. 

Really happy with how she's looking weight wise, mid winter.

We'll be moving to Trainer M's barn, the barn I initially tried to move into almost two years ago before deciding to go back to Trainer A's program. I like Trainer M, I just liked A more. M is h/j trainer, with a good group of juniors and amateurs, goes to a mix of schooling and rated shows, and is the one that hosts the MDT show series we've shown a lot at. I know a lot of M's clients, and everyone there is excited for us to move in. I'm excited as well, but still grieving the loss of Trainer A.