Okay, so I have to admit I have a great big grin on my face as I just typed the title to today's post. :-) I hadn't ridden since the 18th of April, and it was really good to ride yesterday.
It wasn't a great ride - Arabee was being sort of a turd. "What's that, you want me to pay attention to you?!" She has an independent mind, that's for sure! Walked for a few laps in the barn lot, trotted a few laps there as well, then wandered across the road to walk some calm laps in the pasture. Or, that was MY plan, anyway. It looked vastly different than the last time we'd ridden there - grass was knee-high, and once we stirred up a young rabbit! She kept breaking into a trot, and single-rein-stops weren't really changing her tune any. So I started circling her each time she tried trotting, focusing on keeping my seat deep and at a walking rhythm. I'd circle her until she slowed down, then we'd walk on, circle some more, walk on....finally she gave me one pretty much full lap of walking.
Headed back to the barn lot for some more trotting. I focused on being able to quickly get her to flick an ear to me, which meant we did some "fancy" work, since she was pretty well ignoring me. Trot, halt, back, 180, trot off.....various little exercises to remind her to pay attention to me! It payed off, she was relaxing and paying attention to me instead of looking out for herself, so we went back across the road into the pasture again, and got one nice lap of walking in. At this point we'd been riding for 35 minutes, and I had been aiming for 30, so I quit. If I get to ride again this week, I expect she'll be much more responsive after last night's session, since really I didn't work her hard, except that she made it hard for herself by trying to trot and then having to circle, or ignoring my polite requests for attention and having to do backing and turning.
I was surprised how sweaty she was when I hopped off! I put some water in a bucket and sponged her off, and wiped the tack down - She was wet and lathered! Also I discovered part of why she might have been fussing me in the pasture - the grass had been rubbing the cut on her RF leg, and it had fresh blood on it. I felt pretty awful for asking her to turn so much, since I'm sure that was what caused the fresh bleeding - she walks around all day on her own in the pasture, but not a lot of turning, so next ride I will avoid the grass until she is fully healed. But I'm glad I worked on the respect issues in the pasture, not the road, since if I can't ride in the grass, I'll have to ride on the road a bit more.
Can't wait to get back on and ride again! The end of May I will be 18 weeks pregnant, and the doctor only OK'd me to ride until 18-20 weeks, so I better get some riding in while I can!