I am now not the only one who’s another year older. Luc officially turned 10, and still seems as full of life as the day he was born. This year for his birthday, I decided my gift to him is going to be me getting in better shape so that it’s easier for him to carry my big butt around. I’ve started working on my flexibility and strength away from the barn. It may take some time to see tangible results, but in the long run I’m sure it will be beneficial for both Luc and I.
As part of my ongoing effort to get into shape, I decided that I finally needed to stop lollygagging about when I ride and you know, actually ride. I’m pretty sure Luc would have preferred I give him peppermints for his birthday like his mom did, especially since it meant riding in the indoor arena because the sand ring was still too wet to do more than walk.
I set the tone of our workout right from the start. Immediately after getting on, I put Luc straight to work, stepping up into a nice forward walk, working on bending through the corners and then doing some lateral work. We picked up an amazingly forward trot. I couldn’t believe that Luc was actually capable of moving with so much momentum. It did take every ounce of strength I had to keep him going like that, but we did mange to get some beautiful moments of roundness as well. He didn’t even bat an eye at the invisible monsters at the scary end. Apparently they must go into hibernation come spring.
After a brief bit of canter, I decided it was time for the torture to begin – mine, not Luc’s. I dropped my stirrups and hoped for the best. Of course as soon as I kicked my feet out Luc figured the ride was over. After all that is what normally happens right before I get off. It took some convincing but I finally managed to get Luc to go forward again. After a few minutes at a walk to make sure my balance was okay, I picked up a trot.
Unfortunately for me, Luc was not blessed with a particularly smooth gait. I was proud of myself however for quickly settling in and avoiding bouncing on his back. After a few circles in the sitting trot, I decided to kick it up a notch and try some posting trot. That lasted all of three steps before my legs screamed at me to stop. I changed direction and did it all over again, including the few steps of rising trot. Being the somewhat unwise person that I am at times, I couldn’t just stop after trotting. I needed to canter. I had to. And so I cautiously asked Luc to canter to the left, which is the good way for both of us.
He gave me a beautiful rocking horse canter. While his trot may be every rider’s nightmare, his canter is a dream. I only wanted to go for a few strides, unsure of the strength of my legs and balance, so I quickly asked him to come back to a trot. Luc had other plans. He continued to canter. I think it was the first time Luc has ever decided not to take the option of slowing down when asked. He did come back to a trot and then a walk when I asked a second time. It was not a pretty transition, but I managed to keep myself in the saddle. It took a pep talk to myself to attempt the canter in the other direction, but the ride just didn’t feel complete, so I kicked Luc back up into a canter and this time he came easily back to me when I asked.
After cooling out and getting off, my legs felt like jelly. In fact, they were sorer after this ride than the first time I got back in the saddle. It looks like Luc and I will be doing a lot more no stirrups work to help me build back some muscle. But don’t feel too badly for Luc, he didn’t even break a sweat. Plus, he did get a whole lot of peppermints.