Some mornings I want to pinch myself to see if life is really going as smoothly as it appears. Everytime I do, I end up with a pea sized bruise...but a quick reminded that indeed - life is good. I am ecstatic to see how happy both of my ponies are. Delilah is more personable than she has EVER been. I don't know what it is about the new barn...I have wondered if it is just getting away from the horses she has always lived with that made her cling to the people a little more, or possibly something else... Regardless, I am just happy that she has settled in so well. Everyone at the new barn dotes on her and admires her. One of Kelsey's students told me last night that they think she will make a fabulous eventer. It is so nice to hear people admiring your horse, when before she was so often the red-headed stepchild at the barn.
She has settled into training beautifully. She looks incredible - Kelsey keeps her in a stall or a shaded paddock, so her coat looks better than ever. And she has lost her big grass gut, from the combination of regular work, and regulated turnout. Kelsey started jump schooling in her second week of training, so we took some video on Sunday afternoon of her schooling jumps. It went so well that Kelsey hopped off, switched me her boots and half chaps for my flip-flops, and let me hop on to try her out over a tiny crossrail.
(We'll see if I end up posting the video of that...I have to admit, I am shamefully in shorts and half-chaps, which equates to me as a mortal sin of riding, but nevertheless, it was worth it!)
I started out by trotting her around and feeling her out a bit. The difference from a week prior when I rode her was so apparent, it was amazing. She was instantly softer and lighter than ever before. We did a few circles, then hopped a small crossrail Kelsey set for us. Before I knew it, we were cantering off, and I didn't even realize until six strides out that we were CANTERING, and it was supposed to be SCARY....What an amazing feeling! We cantered around the open field, came back to a trot, and I hopped off and loved on her like crazy.
I have a huge bad habit I am working on erasing. My previous trainer had me relying on my inside rein to "pick up" Delilah's inside shoulder and keep her from leaning on it and curling behind the bit. Kelsey has figured out that too much contact on the inside rein does entirely the opposite - it causes her to lean on the inside shoulder even more. So I am working really hard on correcting the habit of laying on that rein constantly. It is so HARD to break bad habits!
And finally, an update on Samson! He has been cleared for a slow and cautious rehab program! We are going to start out with a lot of walking, then start adding in five minutes of trot work after a couple weeks. Lots of trails and basic, slow strength building. His ultrasound looked fantastic - Smokey didn't see much to be concerned about in terms of long term soundness issues - he just wants to make sure we take it very slow and cautious. He was a little concerned about his weight loss, so we discussed a few different options to help him continue gaining the weight back that he lost while he was on stall rest. He is getting spoiled with alfalfa hay now, and he has already gained a little since getting put on Strategy and his supplements. So our plan is in place to get Samson back in the saddle again!