It's frustrating when your mind says 'hey, your horse needs to do this so I need to do this' and your body goes 'what, are you kidding, you've been out of the saddle for almost two years'. I've always been a bit of an overachiever and my attempts at getting right back into the swing of things results in a lot of aching muscles.
Today I got to ride Miss Thang. Unlike almost every other horse in my life, this one has a pedigree! She's a 13 year old Oldenburg named Harvard's Princess. Pretty cool riding a horse where you actually know where she came from. She's a fancy dancy warmblood bred for the dressage ring. She's got a lot of TB blood running through her, so she's not very heavy and certainly has her own opinions on things. Sweet, but typical alpha mare.
As soon as I arrived in the arena, I was told that she does not suffer fools gladly. I looked at her, she looked at me, and I said we'd be just fine. The Hellbeast would excuse fools from the ride, the Princess would make a fool's life hell. I haven't been allowed to be a fool in a long time. Once we got things figured out, I got to ride the fancy girl around with a big, powerful trot.
It's harder to ride the big, powerful, reactive horses because you never get a break. You never get to just cruise along. I dropped a shoulder, she locked up. I braced in my back, her poll popped up. Any sign of weakness? Clearly I wasn't a strong leader and needed to be tested again. Leg slid back? Time to kick out, because one does not touch a lady's flank unless they're looking to be taught a lesson from the school of hard knocks.
The good news was that we got some solid work. Nice big trot, some nice balanced canter, and some square halts. The bad news was that my body was quiting on me by the end and the mare was not amused as my balance started to fail. Her temper got a bit sour toward the end and I was pretty sure I was on her last nerve. It wasn't until I did some no stirrup work at the end that I noticed my legs were actually shaking. My abs are just killing me now. My dismount was followed by me hanging onto the saddle so I didn't land on my butt in the dirt.
I've been offered a chance to get in some extra ride time on a horse that's getting back into work after recovering from an abscess. He's 17 years old and completely out of work, but I'll take any time in the saddle at this point. The spirit is willing, but the body is telling me f*** off.