Standing under the hose and shenanigans
Summer is in full swing here and while I had plenty of time off over the Christmas New Year period, not much got done because it felt like we were living in a fan forced oven with the Easterly wind blowing off the desert, and the temps sitting around 40C.
I did manage to squeeze my last jumping lesson in while it was a little cooler (35C) and then the next day Henry and I worked on the flat, with the focus of the ride getting him sharper off my leg. It was a very successful ride and he was pinging quite quickly. That was the last time he was ridden, as it then got too hot, and on Friday the farrier pointed out he had a swollen leg. Since then it’s been getting iced and is mostly back to normal other than one bump on the back of his cannon bone. I don’t think he has done any real damage, I’d say he banged it being an idiot in the paddock, but given where it is I am taking the cautious approach.
Coolie has been getting plenty of rides in when the weather agrees, and he is much fitter for it. He certainly feels fit when he drags me up the hills and I have very little say in just how fast we go! It’s so nice to feel how well he is, his muscle certainly isn’t at where he was back in 2018, but equally it doesn’t need to be either, he’s mostly just relaxing and enjoying life these days. It would take a lot of work on the flat to get his back to where he was and I find I am just not motivated to do that. We occasionally do pole work, and he has to work properly over his back out in the bush, so really that’s enough.
On Monday I was itching to do a proper ride and go over some of what I needed to practice in my lesson, mainly riding forward to the jumps. With Henry resting, it meant Coolie got to have a jump, for the first time in ages. We have jumped the odd jump here and there, gradually building him back up to a proper session and I decided he was fit enough to cope.
He feels like he never missed a day, he is still the sassy asshole he always was. He piss farts about so much between the fences and pulls to make it feel like you are going so much faster than you really are, but equally I have been jumping him in a snaffle and no martingale, which is a big change, and he is adjustable like this. So that is some progress.
Because he is a bit of a twit, it’s good practice for me to ignore everything but the quality if the canter. I certainly go the pace better with Coolie, but it still wasn’t quite right. I did however do a much better job at giving with my hands over the fences, not shooting my body forward and not pulling (not a problem with henry, but always a problem with Coolie!). Plus, jumping Coolie told me just how much more educated as a rider I have become since we last jumped regularly.
I now use my whole body more effectively, use my leg so much more all the time, and and generally more self aware. It feels good to feel these changes and know the work I put in is paying off. There is still a long way to go but when you can feel some progress is makes further progress seem so much more achievable.
Coolie gets a well earnt day off today, and with Hen’s leg almost back to normal, I am going to do a brief walk-trot ride to see if that will help disperse the rest of the swelling. I get the impression a pressure bandage would have helped it to go down completely by now, but the hot weather means I want to keep the leg as cool as possible. Fingers crossed some purposeful movement solves the rest of the problem and doesn’t cause any other issues given the location of the swelling. I guess if it flares up again we will be off to the vet!