Friday, May 18, 2007

Gonna Go Back to Bed and Sleep Until Noon

I should still be asleep, but I'm not.

The very tasty fried chicken I ate for a late dinner has provided me with a nice case of heartburn. Probably would have been fine if I'd stuck with one piece, but I didn't, because it was so good. And because I was quite hungry, having exercised myself in long-unused ways in the afternoon.

I haven't been riding the horse because I've been so distracted by worries about my mother and sister. Distraction + Equine = Disaster. If you're going to mess with a horse, you have to have your wits about you. Dink is the best of horses, but any horse has the potential for a wreck, and I know that I have been far less than observant or present for weeks.

So I wasn't up for riding, but the Stinky Dink did need some exercise. Harry, who owns the ranch where I board Dink, just cut his hay, and it's standing in the arena, waiting to be sold or moved into the hay barn, so I couldn't just turn Dink out and let him wander around. He'd go straight to the hay and try to eat the whole stack, make himself sick or tug the huge pile of bales onto himself. The alternative was to put Dink in the round pen and lunge him.

Lungeing Dink has been ... interesting. In a round pen, the horse is directed by movement of a lunge whip and by gesture and voice. The horse should keep to the border of the pen, and when asked to turn, always turn facing in. He should walk or trot or canter when asked, and stop and face you when done. Well, Dink is supposed to know that, but tends not to listen, speeding up when asked to stop, breaking into a canter when asked to turn, cutting halfway across the pen and bucking, kicking his heels at me. I hadn't really felt threatened by him in times past, just annoyed at his bad manners. However, being distracted by personal problems, I didn't want to take chances yesterday. I put him on an actual lunge line (kind of like a long, long leash) and put him through his paces.

With one hand holding the lunge line, and the other the lunge whip, I directed him to trot five times around the round pen, turn, and do five the other way. To my surprise, he didn't act like an ass. He kept to the perimeter of the pen, and turned like a gentleman. He even sped up or slowed down as I asked him. The lunge line apparently cued him that he was supposed to do his job. After a number of executions of the five-times-and-turn exercise, I held my hand in the air and said, "Stop." And he did, facing me with his ears pricked, puffing with his exertion. Good boy, Dink. He got an apple for his efforts.

And I got sore. Holding up a lunge line in one hand and a lunge whip in the other while walking sideways is not something I've done for a while.

The ache in my right hand was pretty profound yesterday, after the most vigorous workout the hand has had since last October when I had a bad flare of tendinitis, but I have to note that this weary morning, the joints of my right thumb are more limber than they have been since last fall. Huh.

Eat less, exercise more. You'd think that was some kind of good advice or something.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

Sounds like Dink had a great day too!