I rode Lucy on Thanksgiving afternoon before chores. The early afternoon temperatures had peaked at 68F but it was 65F and dropping when I groomed and tacked her up. Grooming was work; my princess mare was caked in mud and her front hooves, which are shod, were packed with hard mud.
During our warm-up, I kept Lucy marching forward and stretching. In no time at all, her back was loose and lifting underneath me. During my ride, I focused on feeling her hind end -- instead of looking at her neck (very bad habit). An unexpected benefit was that I rode with my eyes consistently up since I was concentrating on the activity under my butt and not in front of my hands.
The difference in Lucy was huge. If I felt her rush and fall onto her forehand; if I lost the motor under my butt; I brought her back with a half halt. She balanced, reached under with that hind and ... oh.my.god ... she felt amazing. Outside of a lesson, I think this is the only time I've felt true medium gaits. She was light in front, her back was supporting me (I could sit the trot!) and we were floating around the circle. We managed to keep that connection and conversation in both trot and canter.
I rode Lucy for a really long time -- compared to our usual winter workouts. Neither of wanted to stop. Each time I thought "we should end here," she would offer to do more. She was very sweaty when we finished so I threw a cooler on her back and we walked. And walked. And walked.
My feet were killing me by the time she was cool, back in her pasture, and the mucking was done. But it was worth every minute.
UC Davis called this morning with good news on Flash. He is responding well to the antibiotics, alert, eating and happy. The vet is predicting that they will be able to transition him to oral meds early next week (the usual course is 5-8 days of IV therapy) and come home possibly on Wednesday. He said that Flash had a very heavy load of the bacteria and is pleased how quickly he is turning the corner. We aren't surprised; Flash is a very stoic, strong and healthy horse who doesn't show pain. I'm sure his body fought off the infection for a number of days before giving into the fever.