I started up my Couch 2-5K runs again today after a few months off. For one, the arthritis flare-up in my feet has gone down a lot, another reason is my jeans are really tight and I don't like tight clothes. Plus one of my teachers from equine massage school posted photos from running the Beat the Bridge run this morning and that was the last straw of inspiration. It also helped that I found out that on my app I don't have to use the "chipper and supportive" Constance which is the default audio track for telling you when to walk and jog. Instead I can use Johnny Dead who just happens to be a zombie. That worked much better for me. I made an agreement that if I do this consistently for two weeks I can buy myself a pair of Asics. I'm hoping that will give me more support for when my RA is attacking my ankles and the connective tissue on the bottom of my feet. It certainly brightened my mood even if my feet and ankles are killing me now.
I had a stressful week and could barely sleep a couple of nights during the week and had one hell of a terrible headache one morning. I was wondering if there was anything in the world that would cheer me up and sure enough when I rode Geir it cheered me up. Today he worked hard and was a good sport about it the whole time. I was riding bareback and it took me a few minutes to get comfortable with it because I haven't ridden bareback in a few months. By the end I had found my groove and was really pushing him to find his groove and not counter-bend on his turns. I decided to try everything that I had heard at the Gerd Heuschmann clinic and it seemed to work well. Unfortunately, without having much work at all last week Geir was out of practice with not counter-bending but eventually combining stuff I learned from the clinic to stuff I learned from Trainer KL I managed to get two corners without counter bending! Or as Gerd called it "false turns". Yay! I rewarded him with stopping at the big water trough (which had just been refilled with fresh, cold water) and realized he was breathing quite heavily, so we just walked around and practiced our stretchy walk that he's starting to get good at.
Geir hasn't been getting turned out with his friends because he's so fat (I can relate with the whole jeans not fitting thing) and can't be out on pasture grass for very long. I was thinking of taking him out to the pasture with his friends after our work-out but then the head of the school would have to bring him in later when she came to do chores and I didn't know if she wanted to do that. But then she showed up she asked if he'd been cooled down enough and I said yes and she cautiously asked if he wanted to go out with his friends and I said, "Definitely! You don't mind bringing him in later?" There are a few pastures at the school but the big one is on the other side of two very large fields used for growing crops by the neighboring organic farm. So you have to walk down a long path we call "the chute" to get there, but once you're out there it's a huge pasture of several acres that goes all the way to a line of trees that runs along the Sammamish River Trail. Our eight big horses were already out there munching away and when Geir got to the end of the chute he trotted happily out to the middle of the pasture and when Pal saw him, he twirled around an cantered as fast as he could to him (I love how bonded Pal is to him) So five of the other horses followed him until they were all circling around him. As quickly as they came, they turned to disburse, all except Pal who stayed with his butt practically touching Geir's butt while they ate grass together. If I ever move to a farm and bring Geir home I'm going to have to beg the school's owner to let me buy Pal and bring him with us. Besides being so bonded to Geir he is one of those rare truly sensitive, gentle, kind Quarterhorses who hasn't got a mean bone in his body.
Last week my daughter went to her training to be a volunteer for the school and although I was working that day I really didn't see her the entire four hours. She loved it and did her first official shift Friday after school. I made a point of not being anywhere near her because I was feeling anxious about her being in charge of ponies by herself (without another volunteer helping her - now she was the one in charge). Luckily Miss C. was in charge and she's pretty devoid of fear and thinks of my daughter as a lot more mature than I do (she's only 10 years old and can't weigh more than 62 pounds so I feel like she's this tiny, helpless little creature despite having a reputation for pushing her to face her fears and challenge herself - inside I am still freaking out). Her jobs include bringing ponies in for classes and taking them back out to their paddocks afterward. She needs to help the little kids in class with grooming and making sure they follow safety rules, and she needs to be in charge of keeping the pony on lead line during the class for safety for the little kid student. She also has to pick out stalls, paddocks and clean and fill water buckets (which she's helped me do for a couple years now so I'm not so worried about it). Although the pitch forks are taller than she is! Needless to say, when I asked Miss C. how she did, she said she did great. It really is very cool to see her branching out and being more independent and responsible. She's the youngest of the volunteers except for one who is only a year older than her, but the rest are mostly 13-16 year olds which is good for her to be around. And she of course thinks that's super cool.
A photo of Pal and Geir ... Geir is actually closer to the same height as Pal but the angle of the photo makes him look much shorter. Pal is really quite beautiful when he's not covered mud (well, I think he's beautiful even covered with mud!)