I did end up riding last night. I don’t know whether my years out of rowing have made me into a pansy or if this winter has just worn me down more than most. I am not usually the one hoping for a cancellation while everyone else seems to think it’s no big deal, but last night I was not thrilled to jam my swollen calves (damn you stairmaster) into my uninsulated boots and head out to the frigid barn. The horses only got half turnout so tensions were high. Spratty was in a craptacular mood- like the worst I’ve ever seen from my sweet-to-the-bones old TB schoolmaster. He greeted me at his stall door with pinned ears. Heh, nice to see you too. And though he still lowered his fuzzy muzzle into the halter, I kind of got a begrudging vibe.
We did not have a stellar lesson. I was so cold I just couldn’t warm my body up. I felt disconnected. My posting was heavy and my torso too stiff to open my chest and shoulders. Sprat was slow and probably not thrilled with me sitting like the abominable snowman on his back. Finally we managed to warm up enough to do some decent cantering and very good lateral work. I can tell he is improving and I am improving especially with some of the lateral work. My instructor commented on this and I noticed it too. It used to feel heavy and now it feels much lighter.
Overall, it was not a very good night. My calves were so tight they burned, then they just started to go numb with cold and pain. I was mostly uncomfortable throughout the lesson and it showed. When I dismounted, Sprat had to hold me up because my legs were numb and when I could feel them again every muscle was so stiff and sore I could hardly walk.
Nights like this get me dreaming about heated indoor arenas! I was recently made aware of a new barn very close to FBF that is offering dressage lessons and has school horses. Prices are similar but the new barn as a heated arena. I am wondering if taking lessons at two different barns at the same time is like cheating on your hairdresser? I like where I am, I like the people, and I like the horses…but this other barn is almost making me an offer I can’t refuse. Would adding a lesson there be such a bad thing?