My stomach bug got better a few days this week, then came crashing back yesterday. I scheduled the dr for 11am today. Hey, that leaves time to get up early and get a couple of rides in! Yeah Yeah, mutter mutter butter mutter.. bad idea.. read on to see why.
Caught Harley up first. Longed him, and he started kicking up and out in the canter with his back feet. Lovely ... another set of sore heels, son?? I finished his longe, and found he scraped up one of his heel bulbs on a front hoof. There's one hoof that's got scarring from an old unknown injury, and that's where he broke the skin. Thinking that might've been the problem, I very carefully mounted, and felt his walk a few minutes.
Harley's attitude said, "C'mon Mom. Let's go ride. I see some poles on the ground over there, and I wanna try!!" So off to trot we went, and after a few bendy circles, I pointed him at the 4'6" line of 4 poles. Good job. Like always. Next, was 4 poles on a bend, 3' on one end, 6' on the other. Harley fumbled over them the first two times, chipping in strides, and basically trying to find his feet. A few times each way, and he showed me he had this all figured out. I was focusing on sections of paint on the poles.. "Okay, this time I'll ride through on only the whites. Next time, only on the middle colors... Now let's try the next out whites." With stripes on the poles, it's easy to "pick a spot", and make it happen.
I skipped the canter work under saddle. He'd thrown a huge canter fit on the line, and concerned his heel bulb scrape was painful, I just didn't feel like risking it. I still was feeling a little sour, remember?? Off to the wash rack, where I hosed him down and a bit of me and cleaned his scrape. By then, it wasn't even bleeding anymore, and he allowed me to rub the dirt off. Added some TriTec, gave him a block of hay, and sent him to his paddock.
Romeo was up next . He seemed eager to get to the arena. Hmm,, that's odd.. I hopped aboard (in the french link snaffle, you'll see why this matters shortly), and warmed him up walk/trot.
I asked him to canter. He gave two eager strides, then threw his head forward, and coughed. Thrown way off balance, I apparently caught his shoulder or just behind the girth with my Harley-spurs. Remember I said my belly and gut were still feeling foul?? Romeo felt the spur, and immediately went to bucking a fit. He tucked his head, and bucked around a good 10 seconds. I started to look to the ground to plan if he ducked to the side, then I figured, "Screw him. I'm staying up here!" I latched my hand onto the front of my saddle (where an "ohsh!t" handle would be were it a western saddle), and let him have his hissy fit. Soon, Romeo realized I wasn't getting off, and he wasn't out of the workload. I sent him back to a long trot, let him realize that was all I wanted, settled, and sent him off to canter. About 6 strides, then back to trot. Canter again, 8 strides, back to trot. I repeated "couple canters, back to trot" probably 5 times. He started getting antsy again. I took the spurs off, tied them to the saddle. I sent him off to canter, and kept his head up with some short reins. He lowered his head entirely too far, coughed, and I felt my front legs squeeze tooo toooo far forward. Ah, so that's why he threw a fit. Too bad. Doesn't get him out of the work I have planned. I could hear him huffing & puffing. "Who did this?! Not me! You threw the fit, said you wanted to run. So, let's run!" When I felt his body relax a tiny bit, I gave a bit of rein. He lowered to the contact. After a bit, I gave a little more. A little lower to the contact. Repeated this until he started to show some relaxation. Changed direction, and more of the same (minus the few canters quick to trot transitions).
With Romeo's mind back in the arena and focused on the job, I did a wholesome amount of trot-whoa transitions, all on the air brakes. He was amazingly well behaved. They tell me being out of breath and way out of shape for that workload will do that. We were hard at work for about 40 minutes before my belly could take no more, and I quit. Hose off, tied to the stall wall, and turned out later when he was nearly dried.
Doctor says it's not food poisoning, it's not accidental turkey ingestion.. It's one of a number of horrid stomach bugs that are going around the area. To whomever I came in contact with that did not wash their hands.. may the fleas of a thousand camels.. oh nevermind. Stronger medicine to alleviate my symptoms, and an antibiotic for the next 5 days.
Does anybody see that keeping me out of the saddle? Nah, but I think tomorrow I'll make sure the spurs are off before I ride Romeo. Oh yeah, and I'll longe the boogers off first, too. Harley had his hunter day today, so we're back to the dressage tomorrow. The arena has settled in nicely, so I think we're back to long canter lines again, and maybe even some 3-circles.