It was a nice weekend, and it provided some shades of a return to normal. As the healing progresses, I can finally provide little bits of support around the place, helping me feel a little more useful. It also means that my horse fixes have progressed beyond a kiss on a nose or a scratch of the withers.
Earlier in the week I went for follow-up x-rays. My doctor said she wanted to see how the fracture was healing. The only word I received back from her was that the fracture was confirmed, and to keep up treatment. Since I’ve only received vague direction from three different doctors, and pain was their main concern, I can only interpret that as going forward with whatever doesn’t cause pain. I confess this has not raised my opinion of the medical industry.
With some caution on my part, I’ve been able to help out around the barn. It’s usually silly little things, like putting on fly masks and halters. My mother swears that each of these little things is very helpful to her, but sometimes I feel like the six year old who’s given little tasks just so she feels helpful! Don’t get me wrong – I’ll take my meaningless tasks over the hours of laying flat on my back! Just getting up and moving around feels better, and when it involves the horses it medicine for the soul.
One of the first things we accomplished this weekend was to put Coffee and Noble out together again. Since my accident, my mother has dutifully turned Noble out every day – but putting them out together is like getting two bickering brothers to behave in the backseat! They like each other, and once out together they have fun. But trying to put one out, when the other is already there, is just asking for trouble. So, without me to handle one of them, it’s been each boy to his own pen.
Although I still can’t handle the boys for this purpose, we came up with a scheme whereby I could distract my young Noble, whilst mom sneaks Coffee in at the other end. I knew it would work once – but Noble catches on fast, so would he cooperate a second time? Well, as it turns out, he cooperated a second and third time. Apparently scratches and carrots from “mommy” is still more interesting than uncle Coffee! Once together, they have a rollicking time! I’m sure the neighbors were not grateful for the dust clouds those two were raising – but who wants to be a joy kill? Besides, the sun shining through the dust makes for some nice visual effects.
Sunday we resumed work with the three adults. We upped the ante a bit on Tally, saddling her up for the first time since my wreck. Bucking was still on Tally’s agenda, but my mother was quick to bring her up short – even after one bucking fit that gave her quite a yank. We worked on sharpening Tally’s down transitions on the lunge, and reinforcing the whoa. It was an excellent session, ending on a very good note and leaving my mother deservedly proud of herself!
Next was Nash. Mom has been lungeing the old man a bit, but he’s a tricky one. Not that he isn’t a well behaved boy – but he is a master at not really doing much work. So, we focused on getting him loosened in the back and swinging. I gave her some exercises to try, and by the end of the session she was anticipating my comments. To finish off, we talked a bit about what to look for, to know that he’s actually stretching fully through his topline. The old man obliged with a few more minutes of demonstration, and another session was successfully finished.
Coffee was last to go. Any sign of the hitch he had a few weeks back was gone. Coffee’s the most naturally balanced horse in the barn – but that often leads to him slipping by with minimal effort. So, we worked a bit on getting more drive from behind. This can get a little tricky, as it’s a bit of a dance – moving a bit behind him, then stepping forward again. The goal is a little drive, then opening up the stride into a bit more stretch. The result with Coffee is a lovely little floaty trot – but finding the rhythm of the dance is still a bit challenging for my mother. So … big confession here … I took the lunge line for a little while. There were some objections, but I knew that Coffee would treat me well – and he did. My mother took over again and had a much better grasp of the technique.
It was nice being able to groom and tack up the horses. There’s something about that part of the process that has always been therapeutic for me. But the best part of all was to be able to work with the horses again, even if largely by proxy. To get my head back in the game – watching what’s going on, making a diagnosis, suggesting solutions and watching improvement – that is manna for my soul! Finally, the first little slice of a return to normal! Let’s hope I don’t wear my mother out in the process!
Be good to your horses … and your moms!