That feeling of patience, created by all the time in the world, has already left. Sadly, it's been replaced by a well-known acquaintance named Intensity. Frankly, Intensity is a real pain in the butt. When she's around, Fear and Frustration, equally unfriendly twins, are always close behind.
I went back to work on Thursday and Friday and wasn't able to ride in the afternoon due to the heat. I zipped out to the barn on Saturday and Sunday mornings only to find that Intensity was waiting for my arrival. She was leaning smugly against the gate and smiled in a knowing way at all of the dust hanging in the air.
The arena and barn aisle hadn't been watered sufficiently so Speedy started to cough immediately in the cross ties. There are usually two coughs as we warm up, but on Saturday, he coughed for ten minutes. I got off feeling an overwhelming sense of anger. I only had two days to ride and now nothing was going to be accomplished. I was genuinely pissed.
My ride on Sydney wan't all that much better. The neighbors were preparing for a large afternoon party so there were a lot of spooky and distracting happenings coming from the other side of the fence. I finally got off and walked over to JL's. He didn't work as relaxed as he will at home, but he did work through a few tense moments as one of the riders schooled her horse over some jumps.
Intensity just hung out in the shade watching me. She was still there on Sunday.
I brought a book to the barn on Sunday. Take that Intensity! I am glad I did because when I got there, the sprinklers weren't going, and I knew that I couldn't ride Speedy with so much dust. I turned the water on in the arena and then dragged the hose through the barn watering my two stalls and the barn aisle. I puttered around with a few other chores as everything got a good soaking. I was still feeling angry at being "cheated" out of my only good riding days so I sat down in the shade for a few moments with my book and let the tension and anger drift away. See you later, Intensity; keep on walking.
Who was I mad at? I don't know. I finally came to realize that we are not going to perfect anything else in the next two weeks. I have two important shows coming up, but we've learned what we can learn. Getting out of the arena for a few days is probably a good thing for Speedy. With that thought in mind, I threw on my trail bridle and decided to confront all of the regular "scaries" that we meet in the neighborhood. I figured it would be an excellent way to school the pulley rein and for me to really get some good practice maintaining the inside bend.
I was right. Speedy and I had lots of chances for some dressage on the trail. We were able to do a little bit of trotting (there was still a bit of coughing, but it disappeared) and a lot of inside rein work. I simply let him know that he doesn't get to evade me to the right or left and he will maintain the bend.
By the time Speedy and I were finished, the arena was well soaked for Sydney. Just to make sure that I rode him with Patience, and not Intensity, I turned Sydney out while I pulled up a chair to the arena fence and read for 15 minutes. We had a very productive ride.
My homework will now be to keep that sense of "cram it all in" far, far away. I need to remember that sense of patience I got from having all the time in the world, even when I don't have time on my side.