Monday was the warmest day we've seen this year. Blue skies and 80 degree temperatures! Against the back drop of lush green trees and grass, the Pacific Northwest is truly gorgeous on days like this. Unfortunately, this time of year is also hell on wheels for my allergies. But it's not what you think. I'm not allergic to the flowers or the trees or the grass. I'm allergic to indoor dust and dust mites. So for the next month, while everything dries out and the dust multiplies faster than I can keep up, I fight against feeling crummy. There's no sneezing, runny nose or itchy eyes for me. Instead, I get migraine headaches, nausea and my inner ears ring painfully. I believe they call these 'atypical' allergy symptoms. Not to be a downer, but nothing has worked. I have done almost all forms of Eastern and Western medicine and nothing has changed it, not one tiny bit.
So, yesterday it was this perfect day and the day of my group lesson and I spent most of the day feeling sick. In my head, I cancelled the lesson a hundred times. In reality, I kept putting it off. I get one lesson a week and I did NOT want to miss it. Finally, I just went ahead and put on my breeches and figured I could always leave if I felt worse when I got there. I struggled through the twenty minute drive, debating with myself about what I was doing. But then when I got the barn, my pony nickered at me from her stall and forty minutes later when my lesson started, there was no trace of headache or stomachache. The barn is truly healing for me in so many ways.
Last night's lesson worked on one thing. There were four cones on each corner of an approximately twenty meter circle in the middle of the arena. We started at a walk, making a straight line to each corner. At the corner, we half halted and used our outside leg to move the hindquarters to the inside. Keeping our rein aids steady, we then asked them to keep moving and move their forelegs over while still walking. Tessa was a bit wiggly going to the right and we did quite a bit of weaving in the beginning. I'd ask her to move her hindquarters and she'd swing her body wildly. Then we'd correct that swing and she'd swing hard the other way. But after a few times, she got it. We then did this exercise at the trot and finally, at the canter.
I'm so proud of how far Tessa and I have come. We actually began to work on doing a half halt in the canter last night. A half halt in the canter! Remember a few months ago when cantering was scary and awful? Remember when every ride felt like flirting with death? Not so much anymore.