September: me back to work, girls back to school and, for Ben and for me, school also. School in the form of my old trainer who helped me a lot with Mali. I have decided I need some help with flatwork and she is very good in that area. But I must admit that going up to the paddock this morning, trailer hitched up and waiting, I felt an old, familiar back to school feeling.
We have been getting on so well, Ben and I, and generally doing our own thing, that I was reluctant to expose both of us to a trainer. Not for worry of analysis of faults, but for a sense that I would lose that free give and take that Ben and I have enjoyed. A sense of end of freedom now, back to school. And I was bringing this on myself.
In the event we did not get very far. After a few comments such as “you like all that hair do you?” as mane and forelock were contemplated, I mounted and walked in both directions with downward transitions and trotted on the right rein. A positive “he has a nice soft mouth” and a negative “he is as stiff as a plank” (very true and why I am seeking help) and then we trotted left and immediately Ben felt stumbly and I got off. A visit to the chiropractor is required. Fortunately she is supposed to be coming tomorrow.
As regards the trailer loading, Ben saw me hitching up and herded Rosie away at a gallop. I let them do their own thing and then came to find them peacefully nibbling the grass by the back gate. Both came with me very happily. An extra good groom for Ben, who just loves his mane being brushed, and then down to the trailer, with Rosie left behind. Ben followed me on a loose line, but ducked to the side of the trailer. I stopped to put on my gloves, in case the lead rope ran through my hand. I was on the ramp pulling on a glove when Ben walked onto the ramp from the side and walked into the trailer. So he loaded himself, when I was paying him no attention. I think that he hangs onto old habits, such as high-tailing it when he sees a trailer hitched up, but when I give him some time, his more recent experiences come to the fore and these old, defensive habits are dropped.
Rosie was calling for Ben, so I went up to her, knelt beside her and blew into her nostrils as I whispered that we would be back. I always think she understands everything I say. She relaxed, put her head down and ate.
My trainer thinks that possibly something is pinching in Ben’s right shoulder. We will see what the chiropractor says, but if so, it could be from that hack where he lost his right front shoe. Another reason to lose those shoes permanently. (Although I dread to think what comments I will get about that.)
I also am seeing my osteopath tomorrow. I have something pinching in my back, a result of all that trimming practise at the weekend.