And no, I'm not talking about the lottery . . .
It's been so cold in the early mornings for so long that Dawn and I haven't managed a ride for over two weeks. The last couple of rides in February were immediately after an episode of mare hormonal overload due to her being in heat. And Friday was about three weeks from her last melt down, and I suspected she was coming into heat again, so I took the precaution of putting her on the lunge before riding.
Good thing I did. Megabucks would be a description of some of what she did on the lunge, and some of it I have no words for. There are no photos, although I wish I had some. I still don't believe some of the postures she was able to get herself into. She was wearing her rump rug since it was cold, and the tail strap was under her tail. In her first bucking frenzy, the rug came completely off her rump and ended up partially over the saddle.
As usual, I let her work out her emotions without my adding any extra energy to the equation. She would gallop and buck and then come to a halt. She would be worked up and breathing hard. I would hand walk her for a few minutes until she calmed down and settled, and then I would send her out on the lunge again. Rinse and repeat, for about 30 minutes. Amazingly, it was cold enough that she didn't even work up a sweat.
At one point, she did a move that was extra impressive. She was galloping and bucking, came to a halt, then launched herself so all four feet were several feet off the ground, then landed, launched herself again and gave a huge back-cracking buck at the top of her liftoff.
A mare with some power and grace, although I don't think that's what they were thinking of with "horse ballet".
We had gotten to the point that she was settled enough to mostly trot, when the barn workers decided it was time to rework the arena footing. Dawn and I weren't done - it takes as long as it takes - so I put her in her stall to chill out and eat hay until they were done.
I did some chores, and then 40 minutes later the arena was ready and we went back to work. I pretty quickly got good trotting to the left, with responsive walk/trot/walk/halt transitions off my voice, but for some reason it took a while to get that to the right. But when we did, I decided we would be done for the day - she was still spooky and reactive, although much more settled due to releasing all that tension.
She's had one day off and will have another off tomorrow, and we'll see how she's feeling on Monday - I expect she'll be a lot more settled.
And here's a blog recommendation - check it out: Reflections on Horsemanship. The author is Crissi McDonald, Mark Rashid's wife - she is an excellent horsewoman in her own right, and has some very interesting things to say - check it out and see what you think.