I nearly imploded from excitement.
Instead, both my trailer tires imploded on the way over.
But wait, I wasn't supposed to tell you that yet. I was supposed to build up the suspense, yada yada.
The plan was to meet at my old barn, which is open again and filled with horses. There's even a waiting list. I love riding there, the arena is fabulous and I enjoy Sharon so much. So I was looking forward to getting there. There was a possibility that DH would be joining us, so I loaded Lily as well as Smokey.
She hasn't been sound at the trot, but I decided to try using a pain med a vet had given me to use before work. Given that I am running out of options (she is still on adequan, it seemed worth trying - I'd been resistant because I don't want to merely mask the problem. But my ability to get this diagnosed AGAIN is... well, let's just say I'm focusing on keeping the hay flowing right now.
Still time off is not working. She's crabby mare, which is who she was when we first got her. Lily needs to be involved, engaged, doing something.
We were about halfway there when a guy in a white pick up pulled up beside me at a light.
"You've blown a tire," he said.
I checked the mirror, but couldn't really see the tire. I pulled over once I was past the light and hopped out there it was. Shredded.
Thank god I had a double axle trailer. I looked at the spare. It didn't look much better.
"Do you have a jack?" the guy had pulled over behind me. This is what I like about Texas. I know how to change a tire, but have only had to do so twice in my life because a guy always stops and helps.
I do, but it's complicated. See, I can't open the tail gate in DH's truck because the handle is broken. DH opens it no problem but my little thin fingers are lousy levers. Lucky this guy, Tony, was gifted with big fingers as well.
I called Trail rider and DH (who was riding his iron horse - the harley) and gave them an update. Needless to say, I was going to be late.
We got the tire on. Oddly, Tony admonished me for pulling over and not checking the tire from inside the truck (I couldn't see it from there). "I could have been a bad guy" said Tony, concerned. I pointed out that I immediately got on my cell phone and we were on a busy enough road in broad daylight. And I had to see what was happening. Then he confessed that he has a young daughter and always worries about these things.
"Don't go far, that spare has dry rot," he said as he drove off.
I just had ten miles to go. And I was too far from my home barn now. I put it in drive and headed off.
And made it about five miles before the spare blew.
I made my calls and said I'd be limping in, but at this point I was going to try to get there. Let me tell you, a shredded tire kicks up an enormous amount of dust, even at 10 miles an hour.
I got there forty five minutes behind schedule, but determined. Determined to ride like crazy. You don't come in on three tires and sit on your bumper, mourning your lost treads!
I saddled both horses and tied Lily (she eventually had to be moved to a patience tree, since she decided to paw). Smokey and I rode with Trail Rider, warming up. Then TR put me through some paces.
What I wanted to accomplish was canter circles. Since steering remains such an issue - at the canter, I think we're solid at the trot - it's the area I need the most practice. A few weeks ago I asked the trainer/barn owner to ride Smokey so I could see what I was doing wrong.
I saw it immediately. I had too much play in the reins. With me, Smokey was at a loss on where to hold his head. I would pull them in, play them out, but with she kept the reins a more consistent length and much shorter than I do. Even at the canter. And she worked on catching the problem at the turn much earlier. That's what I needed to do. Anticipate and compensate.
TR demonstrated perfect canter circles on Woody and we attempted to follow. The trot was lovely, I had to work a bit on collection, because being in a new place Smokey was definitely "up" in head as well as in spirit. After far more trot circles than should be needed, I'd get him into the canter, which he started by throwing his head fairly high. Almost like a kick start. Once going he has a rocking horse canter, but he gets into swinging his head around oddly. It was ugly looking, but really, what do I expect? We've only done this a few times. And now we were doing it - a lot. He was getting annoyed at one point, but I kept my cool and we worked through the crow hop, cow kick and a buck threat.
I wish I could say by the end we were doing great. But we weren't. We were mediocre. Even that is probably a stretch. But it was a vast improvement from where we started.
I keep reminding myself this is where we used to be at the TROT. I am making progress. When DH arrived he elected to take care of the tire issue instead of ride. I knew he felt bad that I had a hard time, since he sees trailer maintenance as his job. But honestly with the six months we have had, it's a wonder we're both still walking. So he brought back two tires as we finished up but encourage me to hit the road. Given the time, Lily ended up not getting ridden, but it was okay. Sometimes you have to go through the motions. The plan was now that Lily and Smokey would have a slumber party at TR's place. I'd move them back home in the morning.
Because I wasn't done with horse time. No sir. We had another horse activity planned.
Of course before we left we had a bit of drama, things I've forgotten how much fun they are to deal with. Like watching someone try to catch their horse, then reacting with horror when seeing them inexplicably walking into an entire herd of horses with a bucket of grain.
But you'll have to wait for Part 2. Cuz this cowgirl is sackin' out for the night!