I reached six months pregnant recently and suddenly I realized that there’s a baby at the end of all this. Obvious, I know, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day realities of pregnancy. Between the morning sickness (which still shows up every morning promptly at 9:30) to the emotional outbursts, some days it’s all I can do just to get through the day. I’m lucky to have really awesome people in my life that forgive me for my dark moods, my sometimes overwhelming anxiety and my extreme irritability. I may not show it very well, but I appreciate the people in my life now more than ever. I literally could not get through this without the kindness of others. And….now I’m crying. Oh yeah, I ugly cry at my desk at work at least once a week. And in my car. This is pregnancy.
That being said, seriously cool things are happening. We found out the gender – a BOY! We picked a name – Colton Davis! And little man has started moving around like crazy. I cannot describe the pure happiness I feel when he starts rocking and rolling, especially if he’s been quiet for a while. And surprisingly/not surprising, my husband and I are closer than ever. A long time ago Clay asked me if he and Savy were hanging off a cliff, which one would I choose. We all know what the answer used to be, but now I’d pick Clay. If I’m being a gigantic B for no reason, rather than get angry he will gently ask me if I’m ok, at which point I will confess grumpiness. Sometimes I can stop being a gigantic B, but sometimes I just have to go to bed. He’s stepped up in ways that have surprised both of us I think, as Clay used to claim he was incapable of taking care of someone.
I stopped riding at 22 weeks after a 15 minute ride lamed me for 2 days. My body resolutely said NO MORE, you are done. While I miss riding, I have a big baby bump. My balance is off and I admit I waddle. Considering how much of a challenge walking is, I know I couldn’t ride right now even if I wanted to. Actually, if everyone could stop asking if I’m having twins that would be really nice 🙂 Still, I’m proud I made it to 5 1/2 months before I had to quit.
Since we don’t ride anymore I’ve committed myself to thorough grooming, lunging and ground driving. I’ll bribe the hubs to come take some video soon so everyone can see what I mean by ground driving.
I haven’t been writing lately because I’ve been obsessed with something completely different from horses; pregnancy. Pregnancy. Something every mom is intimately familiar with and unexplainable to those uninitiated. Everyday is a new adventure so it’s not like I know what I’m talking about either. I do know that it’s completely different than what I expected. Since I bought Savy a little over 3 years ago, she’s been my number one priority. I was always thinking about her, obsessing over training, and day dreaming about the perfect centerline at our next show. I completely expected to continue as normal once I got pregnant, until I was too large to physically ride anymore.
That has not been the case. Almost immediately the morning sickness and fatigue of the first trimester put a screeching halt to any riding. Since I found out I was pregnant I’ve ridden maybe 10 times in almost 4 months. It’s crazy! What’s surprising is that we’ve actually made progress. It seems that each time we work together, either on the ground or in the saddle, our work is more potent. When I ride next, it’s as if we just finished our last ride, even if it was two weeks earlier. What’s even better is Savy’s overall acceptance of the aids has improved dramatically. She has always chomped on the bit, or tried to evade the bit. Not so much anymore. A few ground driving sessions improved something we’ve been working on for 3 years!
Since my rides haven’t been long, or taxing, I’ve been focusing completely on the basics. Inside leg to outside rein. Bending through the body and not just the neck. Rewarding for each little try on Savy’s part. Taking frequent walk breaks. Keeping the back lifted during the trot to canter transition. She felt so solid, soft and on my aids during our last ride, that I decided to try out some more difficult stuff. Leg yields centerline to B & E, easy. Even tempo, stayed on the outside rein, beautiful cross over. Trot lengthening, easy. Improved the connection dramatically actually. I could have taken that ride all the way down centerline at a rated show! If we were working regularly with a trainer, it’d be time to up the ante and start working on harder stuff.
If it seems I am really excited and over celebrating just one ride – I am. Even if it was great, everyone knows that with horses it’s one step forward two steps back. But my riding days, as sporadic as they are already, are numbered. I’m going to hold onto this one great ride. We had a cold snap recently with lots of snow and I barely made it out to the barn, but when I am there Savy has a wild look in her eyes. As much as I miss her, and riding, I’m happy that she gets this break to be just a horse. She has no pressure, no expectations, and as a result she seems to like our time together even more.