dressage · stupid human tricks

The Anxiety of the Horse Mom

I am a generally anxious person. In some ways, it serves me well. In others…sigh.

Last night I waited until thunderstorms had passed through and the temperature dropped a good 10 degrees from its 88 degree high before I went to the barn. I know many of you ride in 90+ degree weather, but it’s all about acclimation – and 88 degrees is WAY hot for Vermont, especially in early July. We won’t hit 90s until mid-August, and then only for a week or two.

So I waited. And I got to the barn about 6:45, on by 7:00. I described the ride to another woman there as nice, rather than good. It felt great to get a dressage school in. I felt like we made substantive progress from start to finish, and I got some work done on having him lift through his shoulders in the canter.

Overall, though, it wasn’t a particularly good ride. I haven’t ridden much in the last few weeks, nor have I had any really good other exercise, so I felt ineffective and floppy. The rides I’ve done have been in my jump saddle with XC length stirrups so I actually raised my dressage stirrups after flopping out of them one too many times. I was definitely too handsy, and too light in my seat, especially through transitions. I’m not desperately worried: it will come back.

We finished with a bit of a hack around the fields and slow, deep canter up the long hayfield hill. It was still and quiet and the sounds were of the wind in the hay, the particular thud of hooves on turf, and Tristan’s deep breathing as he struggled a bit but gamely kept going. It was a great exercise for him, and he recovered really rather quickly.

Afterwards, we walked and walked, and then I hosed him off for some time, and then spent the next 30 minutes fretting that I’d actually hosed him off too much. The sun was starting to set and he did not dry nearly as quickly as I wanted. I let him have some grass on a sunny spot, and then put his cooler on and threw him a flake of hay to keep his core temperature steady. Then I fretted, and fretted, and fretted, and kept finding delaying actions to go back and check on him.

He still wasn’t exactly dry when I left, but he was warm and comfortable, and it was still 75, for crying out loud. I left a note for night check to pull the cooler from him and I haven’t received any calls, so I’m sure he’s fine.

I’m off to Maine for a few days with family, and then it’s Pony Boot Camp time when I return!

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