Thursday 4 July 2019

Phantom Toodles

Phantom has been living the easy life as of late. She gets ridden, so it's not like she's retired and just sitting in a field. But her rides are pretty easy. She usually gets ridden second so that her Ventipulmin can kick in, and I often don't get on her until 9:30 at night. Those nights she gets a quick 30-minute spin so that I can get home (and have supper) ideally before 11pm.

The reality is, that by that time of night, I'm tired and sore, and don't have much incentive to really school. A lot of our rides lately have been more of the 5 minutes of arena work and then head outside to toodle.

Phantom likes toodling.
The late night indoor toodle.
This week she had a late evening ride on Tuesday. I actually did a bit of schooling - some counter canter and transitions into a bouncy trot within the gait. I thought she was going to be silly based on her mood as I was tacking up, but she was super and quite relaxed.

On Wednesday Phantom was my priority ride. And I put myself to work. Me, not her.

My lower back has been getting quite sore and tight after riding lately. I used to have this problem all the time, but I took some lessons with someone who is into biomechanics and everything got better. The lessons aren't an option at this point (I'm broke, and she moved further away) so I've got to figure out what changed and change it back if possible.

I think it's likely one of these scenarios - 1) riding Cisco (greener, wigglier, doesn't give me a place to sit yet) 2) riding Cisco in a treed saddle, or 3) I'm not engaging my core as much (definitely do this on Cisco, usually better on Phantom).

I have a feeling that it's mostly 3.
Substitute tacos for anything with sugar in it.
So on Wednesday's ride, I decided that I would concentrate on me while riding Phantom.

Lemme just say, engaging your core is exhausting. Using my thighs hurts.  And the muscle relaxant I took before riding didn't seem to help my hips move.

I did some trot and canter and focused on not clenching my butt when I tightened my middle. I've felt that happening lately - this is an old habit I thought I had mostly gotten rid of. I also used to initiate the up part of a post with my butt muscles. I used to have a very sore (but super tight) butt.

I did 15 whole minutes of work on Phantom and decided that was enough. Walking on a loose rein down the road sounded way easier.

Phantom was happy to head out. Phantom was not happy that I would not let her go through the drive-thru and eat the almost shoulder high grass that was along the side of the road. I wasn't against her grabbing a bite on the go, but I was pretty sure she'd fall on her face while eating and walking and drag me down into the ditch if I gave in. So she was forced to starve.
I wanted to get Phantom and Cisco in the picture. But I couldn't operate my phone while trying to get Phantom to stand still and not yank her head down to eat grass, so it was mostly a fail.
We didn't go all that far. We turned around at the intersection - Phantom was looking down the roads at all her options and would have likely been happy to continue. However, it was getting close to her dinnertime and she can get a little squirrely if she misses her seat at the table.

I was getting squirrely too - the corner of the field just before the intersection has a whole bunch of beehive boxes. Last year they showed up but stayed empty. This year they are active. And I could hear the buzzing as we walked down the road.

I hate bees. The buzzing gives me the willies.
My grandparents kept bees. I would not voluntarily go near that area. 
So I was also happy to turn around.

Phantom's happy with her current situation (except the whole not being allowed to graze on the go thing). We'll just keep toodling along when the weather cooperates - it's far too hard to do this in the winter months, which is coming all too soon in the north.

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