I managed to get a boatload of barn time this past week and even managed to do some extra work for my barn owner. So lets look at a recent, typical day; how about Thursday?
Woke up well before dawn. Headed to work at 6:00 a.m. Arrived at work by 6:25 a.m. (who knew teachers worked that early?) Worked through the recess break, worked through most of the lunch break, and left work at 3:20. Arrived home at 3:40 p.m. Changed clothes and headed to the barn by 3:50. Arrived at barn at 4:00 p.m. Real life commenced ...
...and I finally breathed deeply as I tossed Sydney his dinner and greeted Speedy G with a quick neck pat. I dragged the sprinkler out to my dressage court and then went and threw a bridle on Marti, my barn owner's gelding.
Marti is relatively new to our barn. He has been in rehab these past few months while he recovers from a hock and fetlock thing.
BO and I lunged him together on Wednesday, and he was mostly well-behaved. He did try a few naughty tricks, but overall, he was pretty compliant for a guy who hasn't been allowed to really get out and kick up his heels since at least early June. BO wasn't able to lunge him on Thursday and asked if I would do the job for her. I had the time and agreed to get him out.
I tossed the bridle on him while still in his stall and threaded the lunge line through the cheek piece and over his poll. He's proven himself to be a solid citizen so I had no fear of a bolt as I walked the short distance to the arena, leading him with just a lunge line. I got him in position and sent him to the left at a walk. He seemed a bit tired, and possibly stiff, after Wednesday's lung session, which had been short, but I knew he needed to move so I asked for the trot.
I glanced at my watch and figured that six minutes of walking and trotting in each direction would be sufficient. After trotting for a few minutes to the left, I asked for the walk, which he did gratefully. I let him walk for a circle or so, and then I asked for the trot again. At the end of the 6 minutes, Marti looked pretty pathetic; he had kicked up a cloud of dust in his shuffle, and his ears hung floppily. Aw ... poor guy, I thought (stupidly) to myself.
I switched the lunge line to the other side and turned him to face the other direction. I took a step back, preparing to ask him to walk to the right, and found myself being jerked clean off my feet. Marti went from a complete standstill to Mach 10. Before I knew what had happened, my lethargic, exhausted charge had bolted straight ahead and left me to finish a belly flop on my own.
Fortunately, my brain was still engaged and it was able to send instructions to my hand to open my fingers and let go of the lunge line. I picked myself up from the ground, dusted the dirt from my chest and thighs and went after my BO's wayward, re-habing pony. My BO has been dying to turn him out so that she can enjoy the antics of her horse running free. My own boys relish their turn out time and put on quite a show as they fart and buck their way around the arena.
But alas, she wasn't there to see him running hellbent for leather with a lunge line trailing merrily after. I was though, and I cringed at the line flapping around and through his feet. Oh, Lordy, please ... not on my watch! Not sure where to go, Marti doubled back to my end of the arena. After a bit of quick foot work, I was able to dog him a bit like a cutting horse would a cow. I cut him off each time he tried to bolt to the left or right. Realizing he was caught, he stood still while I walked up and pulled the lunge line free from his legs and feet.
I pointed to the right with the lunge line, and he obediently trot off to the right. For the prescribed six minutes. Sheesh ...
After giving Marti a quick hosing off and returning him to his stall, I saddled Speedy G and had an enjoyable ride. After riding the gray pony, I turned Sydney out for a bit of a gallop and then cleaned stalls and prepared beet pulp mashes. I finished up my barn time by sweeping up the cross tie area and locking up the barn. I wrapped up my day with a quick shower and then prepared dinner.
And you know what? I did it all over again on Friday (except for the belly flop). Life is pretty darned good.