I arrived at the stable to discover... that Roman had thrown a shoe, injured his ankle (not seriously or lastingly), and was taking a couple days off. There was a little bit of amusement that when I mess up my ankle, 'my' horse also does. :P
So, as a result, I was on Banjo again this week. Banjo, I can make move more easily than Roman, but Banjo requires a lot of reining to steer. (Roman, I can steer mostly with my legs; Banjo doesn't really heed leg cues.) This made for a while of getting used to rein-steering at a trot again.
Posting the trot -- and doing a up-up-down beat as well -- was perhaps not the most pleasant experience with my ankle, but I was just so darn glad to be riding again that I didn't really care.
The main focus of this week was a steering and jumping exercise. Basically, we had to trot a series of poles in a specific order, which was the steering portion. Then we had to come out of a curve, straighten for the jump, and take the jump... then stop perfectly between some traffic cones beyond.
This was problematic for me; I'm not very good at jumping Banjo, whereas Roman and I just fly over. Banjo doesn't really care for jumps, so he'll slow down as you change to two-point in preparation. I'm not used to having to urge the horse faster; when I aim Roman at a jump, it's like there's a rocket up his butt.
I got Banjo over the jump, but let's just say I would have faulted in a show-jumping competition.
Once done, I groomed Banjo and put him away. I checked in on specific horses and gave them treats; for Roman, I settled into his stall with him for a while, just spending time together. And I got drooled on, when he realized I had apples with me. :P
Coalby was missing from her stall, with a visiting horse in there making quite a fuss. (A horse one of the students is considering buying, and had put in the stall just temporarily.) I asked where Coalby was, and she was out for a couple hours in one of the lower fields. Kara suggested I should go visit her, because she was lonely.
So I went to the pasture, gave Coalby her usual snacks, got drooled on and nuzzled, and spent a little time leaning over the fence and watching her play. (She had been all mopey when I arrived, but having someone there set her to playing.)
In the end, I left a lot later than I had intended to, and my ankle was sore. Luckily, the bandage helped; it hasn't swollen again, and putting it up for a while this evening has helped the ache go away. And even if it wasn't the brightest thing I've ever done, I'm glad I went riding.
Of course, I had many stories shared with me about people who'd done similar things. Jennifer Crooks (the stable owner, the one competing in the Master's Cup) broke a wrist and insisted on having a special cast made so she could still ride. Things like that.
My favorite story, though, was someone who had sprained a wrist, got a cast on it, and kept riding anyway. The cast made it hard, so she went back to the doctor and asked if there was any way to make it easier to ride while still keeping the wrist safe to heal. The doctor gaped, and asked 'you want to RIDE like this?' He was even more dumbfounded when she said she already had been.
Kara's assessment? "I told her that the doctor probably didn't understand the mentality of someone who'd try to jump a 1400-pound animal over a 4-foot fence in the first place."
There's some truth in that...