So this week, I finally got to return to riding; first on Tuesday, then again tonight. In the time since I stopped, the dressage school moved from the old Evergreen facility to one way down at the south end of Lake Samammish. A bit longer drive, to put it mildly, but the facility is nice. A lot smaller than Evergreen, but the barn is lovely and the arenda is meticulously cared for. The stalls are large, each opening both to the inner aisle and to an outer, private paddock attached to the stall. Then there's a giant turn-out pasture where they can be turned out as a herd to socialize and relax.
I had to start out back on the lunge line this week to rebuild muscles. Since Jilly is out with an injury, Debutanté is doing double-duty and I'm on the smaller Indy. (Fabio has finally gone to a new home, and been replaced by a new horse named Bassanova, who I have not yet become fully acquainted with.) It's amazing how much muscle tone you lose in 9 weeks in muscles that are only used for riding. Ow!
Still, just being back on the horse makes me feel so, so SO much better. And the instructor says -- rightly -- that redoing lunge-line exercises when I have to concentrate more will force me to correct some of the lingering bad habits in my posture. Already, she says she sees a marked improvement in posture by the end of tonight's ride from the little bad habits I had before I left. So, yay, improvement!
Debbie was pleased to see me the first night; at first she stuck her head out eagerly to greet me, then seemed to recall 'you abandoned me!' and suddenly turned away. I fished out a carrot, and all was forgiven. On Tuesday, she was mildly miffed that I took Indy out instead of her; by tonight, she actually threw a bit of a tantrum; she reached out of her stall to Indy's (beside her) and yanked all of Indy's blankets off the hangers and threw them on the floor while I was tacking Indy up, until I turned around to pay attention. Le sigh.
Also met a truly beautiful horse belonging to the owner. He's half Clydesdale and half Morgan... no clue who came up with such a cross, or why, but he's beautiful and apparently super sweet-tempered, though he's smart enough to have figured out how to unlatch his own stall and let himself out into the main pasture to graze. (I gather, "Claire! Claire! Bud's gotten out again!" is not an uncommon refrain around the barn.)
At any rate, I'm just incredibly pleased to be back on the horses. I think a lot of my emotional stability depends on my horse time... something so separated from my techy day-to-day life, something where I can unplug myself and be off-the-grid, just me and the horses. Either way, I overall feel like I've taken a deep breath to be able to be riding again.