I realized I haven't posted since December. Hopefully some folks hung in there with me. At the beginning of January I started having problems with abdominal pain again and ended up in emergency surgery. Turns out that I had adenomyosis, a condition where the lining of the uterus grows into the wall. Mine had ruptured my uterine wall and was extremely painful. That meant doing the surgery the old fashioned was instead of getting to have a minimally invasive surgery so I haven't been able to ride for the last 6 weeks. I just started riding Grace again because I'm less worried about her acting up and it's going well.
The good news is I feel like I'm getting the hang of the pleasure thing. Got to the barn early this morning and Beth, the assistant trainer asked me if I wanted a lesson. Perfect. Grace is in a new bit, something with a little more bite. Beth asked me to jog her and pull up to bump her mouth if she sped up. We worked on the timing so I'm doing it right before she really speeds up. Grace's head dropped long and low. I smiled; after the first time I bumped her down she seemed to realize I was going to make her do this. She moved nice and slower than ever before for me. Next we worked on stopping. Stopping for real. Beth and I laughed about how whoa for jumpers means to slow down for a couple strides before an fence and has nothing to do with stopping. Some H/J riders who move on to other disciplines have a bad habit of saying whoa without actually expecting a stop. I'm guilty. I'm learning to feel it when she stops with her butt underneath her. The first one was bad and Beth told me to really pull her up and back her. I caught her pretty good with that bit and finally got a reaction from dull Ms. Gracie. "Bet she stops the next time," Beth called out. "That's what we wanted." I must have looked a little shocked. After that I didn't have to ask hard for a whoa. Next up was the lope. I actually got a WP lope from my speedy little mare. The first take off was beautiful. We practiced half way around the arena and whoa. Then walk, lope and whoa again half way around. It was good to stop before we had time to fall apart. I felt like I was sitting better than ever before and not falling over with every stop. And I did all of it one handed!
Tomorrow I was invited by Grace's trainer to attend a showmanship clinic she's teaching. I love having a trainer that's involved and helpful. She helped me find a show saddle and bridle and offered to take me to find show clothes. Have I mentioned I love this? I've made a difficult decision to sell both December and Tax. I really want to focus my time and money on something I'm loving so much right now. I thought I had December sold then I had the surgery so unexpectedly and lost contact with the buyer. She got another horse while I was laid up. Maybe I'll have better luck next time?