While I have been busy doing my own exercise things and eating better proportions for my meals, I have also been getting exercise while exercising Cookie. That's a lot of exercise right there. I have a goal and step by step, I'm getting there.
I also am learning to ride again. It's been quite a journey so far. Small steps which lead to more small steps and that's great! That's how it should be so that nothing is missed along the way. My lessons are in short bursts, just as Cookie's lessons are. I don't want any holes in either of our training. Funny thing is, I'm really learning to re-balance myself. All those years I rode before just float back in as if I had never taken any kind of break at all. Which is totally awesome! Heels down, suck in that core, look ahead, hands balanced, sit up straight. It's all falling into place. My legs aren't nearly as sore as compared to my first ride of five minutes. Spaghetti is the closest term I can find to begin to describe those first rides. When I dismounted, I had just enough strength in them to hold myself up.. and walking was quite the challenge!
Now I am up to twenty-five to thirty minutes of riding. Each time I ride, I get stronger. Leg muscles are working, toning and building and I get a little more relaxed. I'm sure Cookie is thankful for that.
Today I rode for thirty minutes, and tried to get Cookie up into a trot. The best I could achieve is a fast walk and towards the end of my ride, her left leg fell out from under her. We nearly went to the ground in the hind end and believe me it scared me pretty bad. This isn't the first time she's landed wrong or fell down in that left hind. When we would lunge, some times she would land on the top of her foot instead of the bottom. A lot of that is laziness. I can say without a doubt that's what it is. She does have some conformation faults, such as cow hocked and pigeon toed on her left front. She drags her hind feet until the toe is straight across. When I put bell boots on those hinds, she picks them up and doesn't have a landing problem. The vet has checked her out and gave her a clean bill of health at our last appointment. So today I rubbed her legs down with some Absorbine and gave her a good twenty minute all over body massage. By the time I got to her other side she was dozing.
I have been working with her on stretching and flexing, as well as her movement. When she begins to drag her feet, (she will drag her front feet also) I get after her and really make her move. When she's wide awake, her feet don't drag. She picks them up nice and high with a good spring in her step.
I do try to be cautious with Cookie and not push her beyond her limits too much or too often. I do want her to expand her thinking and body movements, though they will come in small increments that way I can make sure she really understands what I'm asking.
Sometimes she's stiff as a board in her turns, so we'll flex and bend and move those feet. Sometimes she'll grab the bit and push her nose to the ground, so we work on collection and relaxation. There are times when she doesn't want to back up, and we work on that too. Anything that isn't fluid gets worked until it becomes fluid. I want us to work together as a team, not fight each other each step of the way.
We're getting there and I couldn't be more happy. Oh, and to answer the question in the title... for Cookie, she's spoiled. She will find any antic that she hasn't tried before to get out of doing something. Whether it's chewing on the bit, dragging her feet, pushing her nose to the ground, coughing, sneezing. She tries everything she can so she won't have to work. That's my smart Cookie!
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