This morning I slipped my foot into my walking boot and headed down to the barn for chores. Brett won't be back from returning the grandkids until this afternoon so I was on my own. I did everything, all by myself, including dumping the muck cart. I have progressed from barely able to walk down to the barn to doing the mucking, feeding and cleaning -- a good hours worth of manual labor -- without pain or fatigue.
While the horses ate their morning orchard grass, crunched their carrots, and slurped their vitamins, I had my morning coffee, a fried egg and an English muffin. Then I raced back down to the barn to ride Winston. I ignored the slight throb when I squeezed my toes into my paddock boot and zipped up my half chaps. I was ludicrously happy to be wearing breeches. I hobbled out to get Winston who dove his head into the waiting halter and followed me out to the tie rail. I groomed him quickly and he looked at me in surprise when I came hopping out of the tack room carrying his saddle.
We started out at a walk. My plan was to just walk him and see how that went. He started off nicely forward and then slowed to a stroll. I nudged him with my leg and got nothing. So, this is what Gayle meant. Hmmmm. This was new; I don't remember him ignoring my leg before. I tapped him and he surged forward. He was in front of my leg for the remainder of the ride. The longe line work has helped him with his frame. He immediately rounded his back and pushed from behind. It was much easier to bend him around my leg than in the past. I decided to try some trot work and Winston was happy to oblige, springing forward with long strides. Initially, it felt fine and my heart was singing as we motored around the arena. Then, my right toes went numb, followed by the ball of my foot and pretty soon I couldn't feel the stirrup at all. We changed direction and did a little bit of trot work going the other way in the name of being thorough and then I called it quits. I rode Winston back to the tie rail, slid off, hobbled into the tack room and put my walking boot back on. Heaven. I love that boot. Then I gave Winston a bath and put him away.
I guess we'll be working some more on the longe line. One of these days, it won't hurt when I ride. It's coming. I can feel it.