Well, Echo came back into work on Sunday after over three weeks off. I knew that she would be a little rusty, but it's always a shock to get on after a break and find that a) I no longer know how to ride and b) that my horse has forgotten what it feels like to carry a rider. I don't know what happened, but when I got on on Sunday, she did this weird humpy thing with her back, bringing it right up and hopping with her back legs. I got off and lunged her but she did the same thing in trot on the lunge too. My friend suggested I checked her back for any soreness, but there was nothing. So, having trotted and cantered on both reins on the lunge, I got on again. She still felt a bit odd, but certainly wasn't lame, so I worked her through it and she seemed fine after a while.
I don't really know what happened - possibly it's due to not being ridden for a few weeks and she was feeling a little cold backed; or there is the fact that she is coming into season and could have been feeling a little sensitive; or my horse is just odd! Either way, we eventually got there in the end, as to begin with she was completely ignorant to my aids. She seemed to have forgotten what my weight aids were and she had also forgotten that I had a left leg - she was all over the place - falling out to the left and was about as straight as a banana. Oh the joys of horses having time off!
However, yesterday she was great and she started getting much straighter. She is actually much better in my left hand than she was before the time off, so that's been a good thing. She started to feel really good in trot today and I was really pleased with how she was going. Today, my friend brought one of her horses over to the yard and we went out for a hack. I was a little apprehensive, as her horse can be a little crazy, and as Echo hasn't hacked out for over a month, I was worried that they'd be hooligans together. However, I couldn't have been more wrong - Echo's behaviour was absolutely exemplary. She led most of the way, only going behind when we trotted and cantered, as my friend was worried that her horse would buck and prat around behind her scaring her otherwise. This worked really well, as both horses were obedient and steady. It was really nice actually - a lot of the horses at our yard tend to race off in canter, meaning that Echo gets all on her forehand when she's out with them. Because my friend is really conscious of her horse's legs (just recovering from an operation) she was lovely and steady and I could keep Echo up in front. My kinda canter!
She was pretty tired at the end - we were out for well over an hour and I had schooled her first. It'll do her good though - she loves being in work and is at her happiest when being worked hard. At the end of our ride, I took Echo up to my friend's lorry while she was untacking her horse and getting him ready. While she was doing her stuff, we had a little play, going up and down the ramp and eating polos (Echo - not me!) at the top. It was really relaxed, so will have done her lots of good. Overall, I was really impressed with her today - proud of my little horse!
She's going to have tomorrow off, then I hope to jump on Thursday - I have set myself a little goal to do a clear round jumping class at one of the shows held by my stables by the end of the summer. I'm hoping to do some dressage too of course, but that is very dependent on other people and their transport, so it's a bit out of my hands. Jumping, however, there is lots of, so this can be my short term goal. I'm looking forward to it. We have, of course, only ever jumped a single fence, so we have some work to do.