Around and around and around we go. Where we’ll stop, only Luc knows! After last week’s unscheduled vet visit, I decided to take it a little slower with Luc this week, just to make sure there were no lingering side effects from his sinus trauma. I was a little hesitant at first, and for once it had nothing to do with the fact I had to ride in the arena! As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about on either account.
Apart from the first fly-by from one of two large starlings that had found their way into the indoor arena and kept flying about frantically trying to get out (which they eventually did), Luc was calm and relaxed for the entire ride. There were no issues going to the scary end, no tantrums involving kicking out, and only a few steps of canter so slow I felt like we might actually not be moving at all.
We started off with a lot of work at the walk (mostly as a precautionary measure), and had regular nose checks to make sure his breathing was in order and that there were no signs of blood. After moving on to trot with no issues, I decided to trot him over the series of poles already setup. He was fabulous in both directions. Then it was on to the canter. His transitions were fantastic and apart from the first one, we actually moved forward right away. Even when heading toward the scary end!
In addition to the series of trot poles, someone had also very nicely setup four poles spaced mostly evenly around a circle at one end of the arena (of course it had to be right next to the big bad door!). The first time over the poles was not pretty! I didn’t balance Luc enough through the turns, which mean our distances were off and we had a heck of a time even making it over the last pole since we’d bulged out so far during the previous three. The second attempt was much better, and by the third time around, we had it figured out and cantered evenly through the middle of all four poles.
Then we changed directions. Again, the first attempt was anything but stellar. For some reason, it was a lot harder to fit the same number of strides between each pole the second way. It took us a few more attempts before we got the hang of it, but managed to end on a high note when we cantered around the circle gracefully several times in a row. It was more canter work than I had been planning on, but it was well worth it in the end.
The one thing that really jumped out at me during this exercise was if I didn’t hit my distance to the pole, Luc would break to trot over it. It was a great reminder of the importance of getting your horse to the correct spot. After all, they can’t be expected to do all the work!
The ride ended with one final nose check – which came back clean, and several nickers when I got off. On the heels of last week’s vet visit, I was once again reminded how much I love Luc, how thankful I am to have him in my life, and how lucky I am that in the grand scheme of things, he has turned out to be an amazing partner and teacher. Now all I need is a giant roll of bubble wrap to make sure nothing bad ever happens to him again. Of course, knowing Luc, he’d eat the bubble wrap and we’d still have to call out the vet. Horses!