Saturday, July 7, 2012

Memory of the last ride

Leaving the house at 7:20 this morning to ride Nikki, I could already feel the start of the heat that was going to take over the day.  As I made the brief drive through my development, there was already a flurry of activity as everyone got out to run, bike, walk dogs, etc. before it became too hot to do so.  I have always been against living in suburbia, but this development worked for me for a number of reasons.  The lot was near the end of  a cul de sac, where the houses were spaced nicley apart, there are trees, and it is on a hill.  Behind our house is a nice wooded area which is part of our property, and our view from the front of our house is of the mountains.  A two minute drive and I am amidst cornfields and dairy farms.  Rural Berks county is just outside my door.  The number of cyclists increases exponentially as I get further out on the country roads.  This morning I noticed that the tallest corn now sports corn!  I can see the tassles and the husks....YAY!  local corn is coming soon!  I love how different cornfields have plants at varying heights so that corn will be available to us into early September.  I can now begin my Farm to Table cooking.... more about THAT tomorrow.

My drive to Valley Mist from my house always includes me driving past the former Pink Star, site of the fire.  Most days I don't react, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, there are days where I am brought to tears.  With two days until the 3 year anniversary of the fire, I started to get teary-eyed as I approached the farm, and had a hard time even looking at the baby standardbreds in the field.  But I forced myself to look at the spot where Suki's barn had stood....yes, I DO like to torture myself!  Then it occurred to me the significance of today's date.  Tuesday, July 7, 2009, was the last time that I rode Suki. 

That memory is as fresh as if it happened yesterday.  Suki was light, forward and happy that day, as I had continued to increase the difficulty of her daily work.  She performed lovely half passes at the trot, and our previous issues seemed to have melted away.  Since her back injection that March, and our move to Pink Star in April, we had been building on the lateral work and working the way Heather had taught us.  Together we were dancing once more, and I was beginning to clearly see our future.  I even dared to try a canter half pass, which she performed with minimal effort and maximum response.  I was elated!  When I dismounted, I wrapped my arms around her neck and gave her a big hug, telling her just how special she was.  That night when I left her I told her that I would see her Thursday for our next ride.  Leaving the next morning for a meeting in New Jersey, the plan was that I would ride on my way back on Thursday afternoon.  Of course, that did not happen, since my husband was called away on emergency business on July 9, and the fire occurred later that evening.  Life can change in an instant, and I was reminded of that today.

Feeling a little melancholy when I arrived at VMF, I was instantly cheered by the sound of Nikki nickering in response to my voice.  With temperatures already in the 80's, I prepped quickly for my ride.  Surprisingly, Nikki was light and forward, responsive to every request.  That, of course, raised my spirits even more! Shoulder in is becoming consistent, and I did a bit on the quarter line to make sure that I was not becoming "rail-dependent" with it.  After the ride I gave her a nice shower and a Vetrolin rinse.  Doesn't everyone love the smell of Vetrolin??  Nikki does not like to have her head hosed off, so I always use a sponge, which she is not exceptionally fond of either, but tolerates it.  Her favorite part is when I towel dry her face, which is much like getting a massage.  Then she grabs the towel and we have a tug of war, like with a large dog!  On my way home i stopped to check Suki, who seemed fine, but I wrapped her hind legs (because of her tendency to stock up) and give her a cool water sponge down.  At 10:30 AM the temperature had already hit the low 90's.....

Two more checks for Suki and one for Nikki.  I gave Nikki a shower, even though she seemed fairly comfortable.  Suki received two more sponge downs.  She will remain naked over night since she is staying in due to storms.  The bandage looks good, so I am hoping that Suki does not do a big roll over night!  The Storm passing through right now is a little scary!  I hope that we don't lose power! 

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