When we returned from our trip I was eager to have Rick ultrasound Lance's leg to find out if I could start riding again, even if they are to be just short rides at the walk. Then I found out that Rick usually waits about a month after the final shockwave treatment to check soft tissue injuries with ultrasound – but I still got the go-ahead for those short walking rides. Yay!
Sunday we were too swamped with post-trip work to fit in more than muzzle-nuzzle time. Monday I chose to hand-walk Lance; it seemed the prudent thing to do given how long he's been pent up. But tonight when I got home from the State Fair (more on that on my farm blog) I gave him a good grooming (he's shedding his summer coat), saddled him up (with a shorter Shoulder Relief girth that arrived while we were gone), and got on.
Aaahhh. It felt so good to be in the saddle and on my horse again! I rode him around the arena once in each direction just to check in with him; he was good so we headed out the gate to take advantage of the last light of day. The wheat field kitty-corner to our NW property edge has been harvested, so we headed out through the stubble past giant bales of straw. I leg-yielded Lance back and forward around gopher holes around the field and reveled in getting to end my day in what is to me the perfect way.
Then Lance thought he heard something in the blackberry brambles. He tensed, then bolted. That little spurt of energy felt so good he snaked his head down and threw in a couple crow hops. I started asking for small circles to regain his attention; he managed to grab the bit and buck again, harder this time. It was getting dark; my guys were still at the State Fair; I didn't have my cell phone on me; and I certainly didn't want Lance to re-injure himself. I made Lance walk nicely and behave himself for another minute or two, then got off and led him the short distance home. He plunged and bucked once while I was leading him, confirming my decision.
Most horses seem to calm down as a ride progresses; Lance has surprised me several times by starting out calmly and then ramping up well into a trail ride. He hasn't ever done that in an arena; too bored there, I think. But as I have determined to keep him out of the dry, shifty sand, we will just have to work through the yahoos!