I am currently in bed with a terrible version of a cold that I picked up. I had a sinus headache for three days that I thought might kill me. I can't take sudafed because it makes my heart race, which then leads to anxiety, which then leads to a panic attack. Ugh. I pick sinus headache over panic attack! But I used steam, ibuprofen, eucalyptus and basically moaned and groaned my way through the last two days. My headache has receded today but I"m left feeling all noodle limbed and light headed.
I had started to feel crummy on Friday, but since I had not had a lesson in three weeks I was determined to ride. So I sucked it up and dragged my weary bones to the barn. I warned my trainer that I might pass out mid ride and I hopped on.
The first thing we worked on was letting go with my legs. Asking her to move forward and then letting my legs rest loosely on her sides. If she didn't move forward, give a sharp clear aid and then let it go. Ask once nicely and then follow up with a demand, not another request. Then we worked on keeping my outside rein solidly connected while I gently moved the bit with my inside rein. As soon as she pushed her nose into the contact, I kept my hands still and praised her. We had some lovely, lovely walk.
We moved into the trot working on the same principles. From there we moved into the canter, where going to the right we have had problems with her picking up the correct lead. I focused on keeping my body loose (easy since I was huffing and puffing and light headed) and keeping her nose tilted to the inside no matter what. I didn't realize how much she would pull her head to the outside when going to the right, especially after a failed attempt.
We had some of our most lovely moments at the canter and the following trot. It was nice to have a private lesson to focus on our problems. And though I was exhausted at the end of it (and subsequently stuck in bed for the rest of the weekend), it felt like we passed another mile stone in our training.
After our lesson, I took Tessa to the wash rack on the other side of the barn. It's bigger, better lit and the shoer was working over there so there were other horses around. She stood like a champ in the wash rack and though she sucked her butt up, she let me wash her tail out with no fuss. Our shoer is really great with horses and showed me some tricks to help her relax. We hoooked her lead rope on to her halter and I held it while I worked on her tail. If she tried to walk forward and move around, I just wiggled the lead rope and moved her feet back to where I wanted them. Within a minute, Tessa sighed and licked and chewed and resigned herself to tail washing. I'm excited to try some of the same tricks in the scary wash rack.....when I'm feeling better.
Today is supposed to be the last week of gorgeous sunny weather. We have had more than our fair share of fantastic fall weather, so I'm grateful we got what we did. In the meantime, I'm drinking lots of tea and hot soup and eating spicy Thai Food to get this sinus thing kicked as fast as possible. Now, back to bed.