Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

I could have ridden yesterday, but thought that it was a bit too hot (my car said it was 104 degrees when I left the house).  I would have ridden if I’d realized that there was a nice breeze at the barn and the temperature was really only 94 degrees, but since I’m not Bent Jensen at PVDA’s Ride for Life (http://www.horsejunkiesunited.com/2012/06/24/bent-jensen-silva-martin-and-a-glow-in-the-dark-performance-fun-freestyles-at-pvda-ride-for-life/), I did not ride in my yoga shorts and sneakers.  I should have packed my riding clothing just in case.  Ah, hindsight, how clear you are.

My car said it was only 99 degrees when I left the house today, but the stifling humidity returned overnight, so it felt like 102 degrees with not a cloud to block the sun.  What was I crazy enough to do?  My riding lesson!  The horses were having a mid-day siesta with fans a-blowin’ when I arrived, and Ms. C and Mr. D had hosed them down to help bring down the body temperature.  Grooming was the bare minimum, i.e., the saddle and girth areas and the hooves.  We were ready to go in under 20 minutes.

Ike’s walk was nicely forward which was surprising given the weather conditions.  His trot was lovely, I mean really lovely.  Well connected, balanced and rhythmic.  Ms. C commented that the front and hind ends appeared to be moving as one cohesive unit.  Yea!  Progress.  So that means that either the boy is maturing into his body mass and the topline is getting stronger and/or the rider who sits astride the middle section is doing a better job with her half halts and aids to better help Ike find that sweet spot.  Since most everything is dependent on the rider, I guess we have to say that the rider is finally catching a clue.  Even his canter work was solid.  He hit his transitions and I was actually able to ask for and achieve a shoulder-fore on the right lead.  Ike still tends to get a bit quick to the left, especially down the long side, “Wee, let’s go faster!”  It too shall get better in time.  Total ride time – approximately 35 minutes before the rider cried Uncle, but I will take 35 minutes of the solid work we had today over an hour of, “Are you talking to me?” work with little accomplished.

I have to say that I thought I was in good physical condition, but this heat and humidity kicked me hard in the backside.  The weekend is not looking promising for riding here in Virginia.  We are facing more very high temperatures with heat index values well over 100 degrees by mid-afternoon.  I do so love the cloying humidity that plagues Virginia in the summer.  It will be interesting to see what my car registers as the temperature each day.  Maybe I can use the car as a roaster and slow-roast some of the 8 pounds of tomatoes we received from our CSA share.

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