I'm Grateful I Got to Ride at All

I called Debbie last Tuesday to tell her I would not be riding at her stable this week. I am paranoid about her boarders/lesson students not being careful with Covid-19 preventive measures, a valid concern since I am usually the only person wearing a mask at the stable. I told Debbie I was following the news, and if her clients had been Liberal Democrats I would be risking it, but down here in NC Liberal Democrats are rather thin on the ground. She cheerfully admitted that I was right about this and I got the impression that Debbie also awaits the Thanksgiving surge in cases with some dread.

I miss my riding lessons! But if I get Covid-19 I won't be able to ride for a long time even if I survive. Better safe than sorry.

Fortunately Shannon's stable is private, and the only people around tend to be her, her husband and her rather elderly father and mother, and they all seem to believe in protecting themselves from infection. Besides right now there is no barn to go into, there is great ventilation outside!

When I thought over my sort of disastrous last ride on Cider I realized the only thing I had changed was that I wore my new Fenwick Skull Cap and Fenwick Neck Gaiter. These have really helped my chronically stiff and painful neck and my mood during these difficult times.

But from Cider's reaction the far infra-red radiation had heated up my brain enough so my body was not working very well when it came to subtle aids, good balance and being able to coordinate my body. The solution was simple, last Sunday I did not wear the Fenwick stuff.

This worked.

Cider was not perfect, but she was not pretzeling all around the ring. I no longer had problems with getting Cider going in the direction I wanted to go. She listened to all my aids and obeyed me mostly willingly. It was as if the previous week's ride had not happened at all.

Whew! I depend on the riding horses, especially Cider, to tell me whenever my nervous system gets worse. Cider is perfectly willing to puncture my ego when my riding is not up to her standards. I am grateful for this since Cider is usually the first one that notices when I am getting worse, often when I do not think that anything is deteriorating in my nervous system. Luckily this time my solution was obvious and easy, just take off the darn cap and gaiter when I ride, and so peace returned.

I did the now usual session of just keeping contact with the curb bit for a while. Cider's flinching improved a little bit but it was always lurking in the background. Going down-slope was not too bad but Cider made no move to carry more weight on her hind end. Shannon told me that Cider did not look all scrunched up going down the slope and that she was striding forth okay, so I have not lost all progress there.

Even healthy people have days when they are sick and not as physically capable as usual. The horses most definitely notice this. So if you are feeling sickly it would be good to dial down your ambitions for that ride. Your horse will thank you instead of cussing you out.

Have a great ride!

Jackie Cochran

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