I had my first rides back on Apollo and Henry last Saturday in a lesson with ST.
ST is very kind to let me split my hour between the two horses. Which is great because they are both out of shape and Henry is recovering from pneumonia - so 30 minutes each is plenty. The vet said Henry was ok to go back to work but to start slow and increase the cardiovascular work very gradually.
Good ponies <3
I started with Apollo and finished with Henry. Apollo gets very antsy when he’s tied in the barn alone so it’s just easier (and I don’t have to hear the racket of him losing his shit) if I ride him first and then tie him in the arena when I ride Henry.
Apollo has had a lot of time off! I didn’t think I had ridden him since I got home from RK’s but ST reminded me that I’d sent her a pic of us riding so I guess I did at some point, I think when he first came home. He was big into his hard-to-catch routine when he first got home that was followed by some tenderness so I would say he’s been off since the beginning of June (I know for sure I didn’t ride him after I broke my nose on June 10). So about two and a half months off for him. I’m sad to report that the saddle I was going to borrow/pay off from Coach D did not fit him (it was really crooked on him, not sure if it was him or the saddle but it was no bueno).
He was a lot better than I expected in our lesson. He was hot, sure, but he’s usually a lot ruder after that much time off. His walk work was fabulous. His trot was really nice in one direction and in the other (unbalanced) direction it wanted to be a canter really badly. But no crowhopping or real shenanigans. Our lesson was a reminder to me to half-halt and not pull. When he’s hot I want to pull so badly but it just gets him more ramped up and gives him something to brace against.
Beautiful sunset at the barn the other night
I rode Henry a few times bareback in July. I was out of town twice and he developed a cough that later became pneumonia so I would estimate he had about a month off. I ordered a saddle for him to try out but it sadly was too narrow.
Too narrow in the shoulder but oh so pretty
I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous after being bucked off three times to not have stirrups. I think the saddle fit was a big contributor to the bucking but I’m still uneasy (which is understandable). He’s been fine about being ridden bareback, even after a month off. ST said he looked a little bug-eyed at first but he didn’t do anything silly.
This lesson was a friendly reminder that I can’t sit his trot to save my life. I warmly welcome any and all tips to help me out with this. I know I will improve as I practice more but holy crap my internal organs have been re-arranged yet again.
Who knew the highlight of my show season would be trotting a baby horse over poles
In both lessons I really wanted to tip forward. ST gave me a good tip to think about lifting my chin when things get a bit hairy (somehow that makes me sit up properly). I also want to hike my legs up when I transition to Henry, so I’ll have to remind myself to have “longer legs” when I ride him second. I haven’t ridden them back-to-back in a really long time… and Henry feels so small to me after I ride Apollo. Apollo is like riding a smooth picnic table. Henry is like riding a bouncy 2x4.
This combo lesson was really the catalyst for me deciding to quit my part-time job. I was so happy to have had a positive experience on my first rides back but when I started thinking about when I’d be able to ride next… it would be a while. And that just doesn’t work for me. I want to keep building on our positive momentum. I also get more nervous the more time off I have, so that does me no favors.
I am really excited to see where we'll all be in a month!