Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sick AGAIN! and a little playtime on Panama

Remember me saying that it had been a really rough winter, and I had been sick a lot?  Well, apparently that's not over yet.  Late last week I noticed I was getting a sore throat again -- bad timing because I had a busy weekend ahead of me.  I got very tired on Saturday and ended up taking a long evening nap and going to bed early to boot, and then Sunday when I woke up my throat was so painful and I was so tired that I called in to my babysitting job to let them know I wouldn't be able to make it.  I slept nearly all day on Sunday.

Part of what kicked me over the edge might have been my lack of sleep on Thursday and Friday nights, combined with an early morning out in the cold and the wind at the barn on Saturday with the kids.  I did take A. inside to ride in the indoor arena while V. had her lesson outside, but there was still a good amount of time spent out in the cold.

Since I haven't been blogging regularly in a while, it occurred to me that I may have readers who don't know or don't remember that V. and A. are the kids I nanny for.  V. is 12 now, and A. is 6.  A. has been interested in riding on and off, but he really does not care for being at the barn in less-than-perfect weather, so he hadn't been there in months until this past Thursday.  An recent illness in the family means that there isn't another adult to stay home with him while his sister and I go to the barn, though, so he came with us during her lesson on Thursday, a short practice ride on Friday, and a makeup lesson (from when she was sick) on Saturday.  He asked to ride all three times, and although I made him start slow because of his long break, he was anxious to try trotting -- before he stopped coming to the barn with us, he had been working on trotting on the lunge line, with the goal of getting to do it with reins (I wasn't allowing him to trot with them until he learned his balance, to avoid him yanking on Panama's face).

On Saturday I finally let him trot, and since he had been asking, I told him he could hold the reins unless he started pulling on Panama's mouth, at which point I would take them away from him.  I was amazed that he didn't pull on Panama once!  He had to be reminded to carry his hands low (he kept lifting them up to shoulder-height), but he kept the reins loose and did an amazing job of balancing.  He has grown quite a bit over the winter, and I really think the new height must be helping him, since he's had absolutely no practice in probably six months.

We also played with the horse ball in the indoor arena on Saturday, which has made an unexpected reappearance.  (It had been gone since its owner changed barns last year, but even after she came back, the ball remained gone for quite some time.)  I wasn't sure how well he would remember it, so I rolled it out while he stood watching me with his reins looped over my neck.  The minute he saw the ball, though, he walked over to it, pushed it hard with his nose, and followed it so that he could push it again.

Yup.  He definitely remembered what to do.

I caught him and mounted, and he had a good time pushing the ball around.  A. got to play ball with Panama a little too, although he has a hard time remembering to loosen the reins so that Pan has room to push the ball with his nose.  Although the other horses mostly push the ball with their shoulders and legs, Pan prefers to use his nose and head, which my trainer says is probably because he's so little -- the ball comes up a lot higher on his chest than the other horses, which is probably why he's not comfortable shouldering it around.  He did experiment with kicking it with a front foot or knee a few times on Saturday, though, so maybe he'll warm up to the idea.

It was a fun morning at the barn, even if it may have cost me in health!  I pushed my lesson -- which was supposed to be today -- back to Thursday, and may have to have my trainer ride Rondo for me if I'm still not feeling well enough by then.



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