I didn't get a chance to ride for about two weeks, but I've gotten to ride every day since I've been home. I feel so lucky :) I rode Stella last night, and I also rode her today. I even jumped today!
Stella hadn't worked for a few weeks, so she was ready to run last night. I think I've already mentioned that she's now getting a high-energy feed to help her gain some weight. She's looking fantastic now, but she needs regular riding to help her burn off some of the extra energy. I longed her for a bit and she behaved herself. Then, I tacked her up, mounted, and waited outside of the ring while Larry finished free-longeing a horse, a pretty palomino named Blondie, that he's training. The horse's owner came to watch. Stella was good while we stood outside of the ring, but I could tell that she was itching to go. I normally like to have a long walk to warm up at the beginning of a ride, both to stretch myself and because Mac always needed a long walk to loosen up his stiff muscles, but last night I let Stella move into the trot early on. She was excited to pick up the pace. We moved along nicely for a while. My shoulders looked like they were leading a bit, but otherwise we looked and felt very good. Cantering was very exhilarating. Stella was wonderful, although she really wanted to go. I alternated between letting her hand-gallop and bringing her back down to a normal canter. Stella got quite strong with me a few times, so I made her halt and stand. She didn't like that very much, but she eventually got the message and stayed focused on me even as we flew around the arena. I almost felt bad after our last canter because I knew her motor wasn't worn down yet. She's like the Energizer Bunny, always going and going and going and going and going...
One time at an AQHA show, actually a few weeks before Mac died, Mindy and I tag-teamed it to try and work the silliness out of Stella before Mindy took her into a class. She longed her, I longed her, Mindy rode her, I rode her, we longed her again, we rode her again, we longed her again, we rode her again...and Stella STILL exploded in the class with Mindy.
The horse just doesn't stop. It's absolutely amazing. Sure, she gets tired, but she'll surprise you with huge bursts of energy just when you think she's done.
Today was really fun. It sprinkled a bit and made the grass in Elizabeth's yard slick, so Elizabeth and Mindy moved a jump into our arena and they were schooling over the fence when I arrived. Elizabeth was on Sydney and Mindy was on Stella. I grabbed my helmet and Mindy handed Stella over to me so that I could pop her over the fence a few times. Mindy left to tack up Chester, but that's another story :) Stella trotted happily to the fence each time, popping over with ease. It only hurt my hip once, and the pain was mild and short-lived. We worked on the flat for a while too. Stella was still a little energetic, but she was very good for me. We had an excellent canter. I also rode with safety stirrups today. Mindy didn't put my saddle on Stella today, and the saddle that she used had stirrups that would slip open if I applied enough pressure in the right spot. It was a little odd at first. I've used the bent safety stirrups before, but never the peacock stirrups or the folding ones like I've used today.
I personally use traditional stirrups. There's no real reason why except that I always have. I'm all for equestrian safety--there have been only a handful of times I've ever mounted a horse without a helmet, just as an example. I've just had my current irons since I bought my saddle and I've never had an issue with them. Perhaps I'll adopt some form of safety stirrup if I ever get really serious with jumping, but until then I think I'll stick with my current irons.
Mindy still was worried about jumping Tina at this stage in the pregnancy, so Larry let her take Chester. Yes, our little stallion is growing up! He got his first lesson over fences today. He's never even had an English saddle on his back. Larry has taken him over ground poles a few times, but that's all. Mindy just hopped on, schooled him around for a bit, and pointed him at a tiny crossrail, which he sailed right over. It was amazing to watch. When we first backed him, Mindy and I told Larry that Chester was going to be an all-around horse. Now he's practicing his jumping and already pretty good at it! He's so amazing.
I might go to the chiropractor tomorrow. I need to go before the District show, too.