Lily's shoulder seems better - after her pitchy episode I noted her shoulder was out and it seemed reasonable that it could be causing her to be so off balance (although lord knows I need to work on three things at least).
So I did my best Jr. Chiro Adjustment that I was taught. I don't have the strength to do it right, or the right technique, but she licked and chewed afterwards, so I crossed my fingers. She had four days off and I came out to ride early.
Her attitude was noticeably better, and we headed to the round pen. I wanted her to run on some soft sand so I could see how she felt. Sure enough she did some out of character neck/head snaking, but after one rotation I could see that she was getting more comfortable. After five or six more turns there was no more twisting on her part, her transition was fluid. The joint, I think, was warmed up.
I think this is what she needs, every time. And I need to keep an eye on her shoulder.
We rode in the round pen, cantering smoothly. I worked on keeping my arms quiet, my legs in a better position and mostly relaxing into the ride. It was a good session for both of us. I didn't drive her with my seat, but tried to move with her rhythm. I'll try to video it tomorrow, or maybe Sunday.
We worked also on side passing to the gate which is a mess. But I think we made progress. We'll keep working it.
Smokey was very funny today. One thing I like about this horse is his curiosity. I'm looking forward to exposing him to more things so he can explore the world a bit more - poor thing, it's been so hot and I've been so budget conscious and trail worried that we haven't made any trips this summer. I could get somewhere early enough to ride, but then the trailer ride home it'll be over 100.
I think realistically my next step is trailering to another arena. I'm trying to be rational about where I'm willing to go right now. Frankly, I'm having fun riding again, and while I need to do more, I'm reveling in the fun at this point. And an arena seems like a good option.
I was getting Lily ready for cooling off after our ride and he poked his head in the tack room. A stack of magazines was just in reach. He grabbed one and started lipping through it. Apparently he found it boring, and tossed it on the floor.
Our ride in the round pen was one part perfect, and one part "I don wanna!"
His weak canter is clockwise, and I find I have to have a serious conversation at some point in that canter. Sometimes it's better than others, today we had to head off a cow kick and a turn to the center. And then, as if he reached some sort of inner conclusion, we rode on, in a perfect canter circle. Clockwise.
It was a morning I wanted to hold on to, I wanted to take the rest of the day off and not let go of my horses. Even though we didn't accomplish some big thing, we didn't conquer any major obstacle or win any trophy. I wanted it to go on and on.
There isn't enough time. There isn't enough time in my life for these horses (nor money, but sometimes I can believe that's a minor concern).
But I make the best of the moments I've got. I wrap them in a silk ribbon and wear them around my neck, letting the warmth, the softness, the smooth flow of memory sink deep inside and remind me of how precious it all is.
All of it.