Every time someone says they have a bad cold and it's awful and I should stay away from them I always think "how bad can it be? It's just a cold. That's what cold medicine is for." Sigh. But now I've got a cold that I swear even cold medicine is not helping very much. Today it's slightly better (as in the cold medicine is working) but I've been slogging through trying to get stuff done after being away for a week and it's been difficult coughing up alien goo and feeling like all my energy is sapped. Not to mention my ears being plugged so much that when I sneeze everything gets louder. Waaaah.
I muddled through a half day of work yesterday then begged one of my co-workers to take my last two classes (which thankfully she could) and I've not really been working Maiden very hard and our rides are basically walking and stretching. I have started her on some lateral work which she hates, but it's going to help her get into shape a little more. One thing I've noticed is that (although it might be a coincidence) three times now she has entered a trot transition with her neck relaxed since we started doing the lateral work earlier in the week. Usually the trot transition consists of an energized walk with her neck relaxed and her poll low, then I prepare by shortening the reins just a tiny bit so that she doesn't stop relaxing but so I still have contact if she throws her head up, ask for a trot and boom! Her head shoots why up and she throws it back as far as it can go and hollows out her back like a big "U" and starts to trot. Meanwhile, I'm quickly shortening the reins and asking her to stretch but there's quite a few steps of upside down trot in there. Trainer K. says to ask her to trot just as she's starting to stretch down and that works great in theory and the timing makes perfect sense in my head, but actually getting my inexperienced body to achieve such timing is a huge challenge. You can theoretically know all of this stuff, but training your mind/body connection to have something like perfect timing takes a much longer time than just intellectually grasping the concept.
I think a lot folks who don't ride horses (or aren't actively involved in training in any sport) don't understand that just because you know how timing works doesn't mean you can instantly make your body do it. If you could you could just read a book about dressage (or basketball, tennis, etc) and instantly be a pro at it.
In other news the school got back to me on my idea and says we should talk more next month about it. I've been thinking a lot about it and it's a rather sticky subject and I can understand now why some vet and farrier schools don't require horse handling prerequisites. But I'm excited to talk more about it with them. I'm just excited to possibly contribute something to what I think is an already great program.
And speaking of which I have two of my three case studies picked out already for my second portion of school. I'm going to use my horse, Maiden and Geir, one of the lessons horses at the school. He has a sore back right now and the director is giving him some time off. I've never worked with him because he's a big old Fjord and usually the older, more advanced riders use him and all my students are very young, beginners. But after just one session of working on his back I was completely in love with him! Initially he was wary about me working on his back where it's sore, but once he got comfortable with me he enjoyed his massage and when I was done, he wrapped his head over my should and kept it there for a moment and sighed like he was hugging me! Now when I walk past his paddock his ears perk up and he comes to the fence to see me!
The other horse I'm totally in love with is Bandit (well, all of them really). I use him for one of my students who although she's only 9 years old and very small, she's a little more advanced beginner than my other brand-new-to-horses students. Plus, her lesson is during a time when there's a group lesson with lots of ponies being used so we can't use them. Bandit is a full size Fjord/Paint mix and he's just beautiful. But he's also the biggest teddy bear in the world. He is always so present and so aware of what his little rider is doing and yesterday she trotted him around the arena twice all by herself and they both did really well. Horses like Bandit are few and far between!