Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Suki!

Suki turned 14 today.  Since the fire, her birthday is a reminder of how close I came to losing her.  How she almost didn't reach 10, much less 14.  I think about it on the day that marks the fire.  I think about it when she looks into my eyes and I see her soul.  I think about it when I watch her gallop in the field and roll in the mud with the pure joy of loving life.  And today was no different.  I did try to put a birthday hat on her this morning, and while I did get it on her head once, it fell before I could take a picture.  After that she just snorted at it and was very clear that the birthday hat was not going anywhere near her head!  When I turned her out after her daily spa treatment she galloped across the field, slowed to a canter then trotted around a bit.  I had to catch my breath for a moment to watch the beauty and joy of my beloved Suki and the thought of what almost was.  As usual, Nikki was just casually strolling across the field, EXHAUSTED from our ride.  Suki chased her for a moment then trotted off again.  Their personalities are different in many ways but similar in the diva aspect.  I love my girls!!

It is so wonderful to be riding again.  Louise started her up for me again after I lunged Nikki in tack for a week prior.  Last week I rode for the first time since December, which seemed like an eternity!  Putting my foot in the stirrup and settling into the saddle I felt a calmness wash over me that I had not experienced since my mother went into the hospital.  Life has been crazy with business and worry, but those moments when we are with our horses it all goes away for awhile.

Friday, May 1 was my first day back in the saddle.  Louise had noted that Nikki has a softer look in her eye now, compared to December.  December was a rough month.  Nikki injured her hock, was on stall rest, sprung a shoe then was turned out in the paddock only due to weather conditions.  I mistakingly did not request that her grain be decreased so she became a bit wild.  Then the snow came and continued to fall.....we were finished for the season.  So perhaps that is the reason, or she is maturing.  Warmbloods take longer than other breeds to mature both physically and mentally, and Nikki turned seven in April.  Suki was seven when she finished growing in height (thankfully!).  Whatever the reason, Nikki appears to be happily back in work.  As am I!  I do agree with Louise.  Nikki does seem to have a softer look, and other than begging for sugars, is responsive.

Yesterday I added more sitting trot.  Nikki came softly into my hand and pushed nicely from behind.  Her down transitions are immediate but a little heavy in the hand, so I am working many transitions which lightens her up front.  Canter transitions have been remarkably smooth (thank you Louise!).  I know that she is behind in training for her age, but life has gotten in the way.  I hate to admit that, because i always said that it would never happen.  Hopefully this year will be a turning point.

Mother Nature appears to be softening bait, and although we have chilly nights (40F) the days warm nicely.  Spring was delayed but the grass is finally starting to get quite green and trees are budding nicely.  Soon we will complain about the heat, so I will enjoy the transition!

Today I did a bit of leg yield with Nikki and she was quick off my leg in both directions.  Next ride I will add the spiral exercise!

Suki lunged well, but I kept it pretty basic.  Nicely forward to loosen up (she starts stiff) then upward and downward transitions.  Just 15 minutes, but she worked quite well.  I am trying to decide when to add the surcingle.   Two weeks?  I think that she is ready for side reins, so I will need the surcingle to do that.  Stiffness appears to resolve after a few minutes so for now I think we are okay.  I know in my brain that it is time to stop babying Suki with regards to work.  My heart struggles a bit.  She has been through so much.  But she is strong and more confident now.  Will I be riding both mares by fall?  I certainly hope so.

But today we celebrate Suki's 14th birthday.  And her joy of life.  Floating across the field, daring anyone one to say that the triumph was not worth the struggle.

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