March 9, 2012


Practice at the Equine Affaire


Today I managed to salvage some dignity after Wednesdays ride. Dharla and I got out for a nice jaunt along the AL trail on this intermittently sunny and STILL very windy afternoon. What’s with all this nasty cold wind? We’ve been getting warm temps, but the wind has made the last few sunny days feel much colder than it should. Booo! It’s hard not to get your hopes up when they predict temps in the mid 50s and low 60s. To be able to ride in moderate temps without being harassed incessantly by bugs is a dream come true so it’s a huge letdown when you have to bundle up like the Michelin Man because of high wind.

But I digress. I pulled on a few layers and Dharla and I headed out. She’s in heat, which explains a bit more about Wednesday’s brief battle of wills in a few places. I wasn’t sure how she’d be today, but I was going to keep an open mind and I was not going to lower the bar. My expectations are not beyond her ability to meet as she easily showed me today with no complaints or problems.

We worked on walk/trot transitions with a few short canters thrown in just for the heck of it. I could tell Dharla was feeling feisty, so I didn’t let her get too fired up. Her spooks are becoming a bit less dramatic. That’s a good thing. She was listening to me and relaxing, so I took this as an opportunity to work on consciously being and staying relaxed myself. I kept checking in with my legs and back to make sure I wasn’t bracing or stiffening up. Boy, is it a challenge to keep my broken body relaxed. It probably hasn’t helped that Dharla has been very spooky this winter, but I can feel her relax more and more when I relax too. The funny thing is that I’m not nervous or worried mentally, but for some reason my body just involuntarily tightens up. Muscle guarding is common when you have extensive nerve damage and significant chronic pain, but I think I can get a better handle on this if I’m willing to stay conscious about my tenancy to tighten up and brace. My goal is to retrain myself to really relax while staying alert and ready to calmly handle anything that comes our way.

We had a delightful ride! The wind got pretty chilly toward the last half hour or so, but I was glad we got the chance to get out and enjoy some quality time together.

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 90 minutes (approx)

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