Monday, August 31, 2009

Horse therapy

I had a rough Monday. I've been participating in a diabetes study at my doctor's office, and today — one of the final visits — involved sitting there with an IV in my arm, having my blood drawn eight times over five hours.

As if that weren't bad enough, it took the nurses two hours to get the IV started. I have five holes in my left arm (where the better vein is), and a sixth hole in my right arm. Ouch!

Of course, the late start meant that I was there later than I was supposed to be. Originally I was going to get done around mid-afternoon, stop off home to change my clothes and pick up my tack, and then go out to the barn to ride. By the time I got done, it was so late that I just went straight out there to drop off Panama's new bag of grain.

Panama was clearly happy to see me. He stopped and watched me park, and started walking over to the gate as soon as I got out of the car. I walked over and greeted him at the gate before getting the grain out of the car. Of course he was quite happy to see the grain too, which is why I waited to pull it out of the car — I wanted him to be happy to see me first!

Even after the grain was put away, Panama was still obviously happy to see me, so I haltered him up and groomed him. He kept looking back at me while I was grooming him — not anxiously, but like, "Hello!" He was being so sweet that I decided to hop on bareback for a few minutes (my bridle being the only thing there at the time).

We just rode around the front pasture while the alpha and the mare watched us from the barn, but it was a good ride. I started out riding Panama in a circle around the pasture, which took him right toward the gate. He had a lot of pep in his step until we passed it and he realized we weren't going out there after all. Good to know he's eager to get out on the trail again, because that's where we're going tomorrow!

For the most part we just lazed around. I focused a bit on softening but he was being pretty good about it, so it wasn't requiring much work. After a few laps around the pasture, I stopped him and we worked on turns around the forehand. As often happens when I have taken a break from riding, or when we haven't worked on it for a while, he had spaced the cues a bit, so we needed a bit of a refresher.

While we were finishing up with the turns on the forehand, the barn owner came out with the evening hay. I immediately jumped down and walked Panama over to the hitching post. I didn't want to get into a situation where he was getting antsy and I was bareback, since he's narrow and my balance isn't as good without the saddle to add a little width. He was pretty patient while I removed his bridle, though — no running away like he did Friday — and he even was responsive to me (i.e., didn't have his face buried in his hay) when I brought the brush over to groom him from our ride.

It was a nice, relaxing ride, and a good way to make up for the day I had at the doctor's office. I'm looking forward to getting back into a regular riding schedule this week — starting tomorrow!

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