Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I would not have expected this

Ben is funny.

A few days ago Hilly happened to be eating a clementine nearby his paddock. He hung at the fence, making his "Please please please" puppy dog face till she handed him a slice, not really expecting him to do anything except lip it and drop it into the mud.

He inhaled it.

So today, just for the heck of it, I offered Ben a kumquat. That's right, one of those silly little grape-sized citrus thingies. He sniffed it, took it tentatively, and chewed it in the front of his mouth, presumably ready to spit it out if it turned out to be icky.

It was, as it turns out, not icky. He swallowed the tiny treat and accepted a second and a third kumquat with cheerful greed, and would have taken more if I'd offered them. I refrained, not wanting to overload his belly with something so outre compared to his usual diet.

Ben is funny.


Update, a few days later: Alas, Ben's brief infatuation with kumquats has ended. First day: intrigue, inhalation. Second day: happy gobbling. Third day: sniffing, ambivalent acceptance. Fourth day: sniffed, slowly taken, chewed once, spat out.

But horse cookies are cheerfully accepted.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting an Edge

Status: Exhausted, much depleted of invective inventory, and pleased.

The Gazelle Edge exercise thingie arrived today, yippee! Further yippee: The young delivery man who toted its heavy boxed immensity up my ten front stairs was kind enough to then haul it inside and all the way to its future home in the living room. Where it sat while I got some rush work out of the way.

That done, I set about unboxing and sorting the contents, with a first set of imprecations to warm up for what lay ahead. The picture-and-word instructions were reasonably clear; all parts were present and accounted for; the sequence itself was not too involved; so it only took me about an hour and a few fucktons of curses to get it finished.

The first time mounting the beast was kinda scary; those footrests swing easily and you have GOT to hold the side bars, NOT the handles, to get aboard safely. But I did it!

And by golly, it works. It's easy to master the motion, it's not overly hard to do; yet I could feel enough effort being expended to believe that it will in fact do me some good to work out on it. It does take up some of my limited floor space, but not too much, and it will fold up. Best of all, my wonky joints didn't complain a bit.

The cats, natch, were horrified at the intruder who hauled it in; emerged from hiding to sniff cautiously at the box, then try their claws on it; fled the assembly cursing and played in the cast-aside packaging; and are now clumped around the edges of the Edge, no doubt annoyed because it's sitting right where several of them like to congregate in the hour before supper trying to guilt me into serving an early meal.

I hope I'm around to see it when one of them tries getting on one of the swinging footrests.


Next morning update:

The Gazelle Edge -- so far, so good. I'm so deconditioned that it really does tire me out after a few minutes of not-that-hard work, so I've been using it in short bursts, as frequently as I can find occasions for. I did feel a little bit of "Hey, you've been making us work!" muscle ache this morning when I got up, nothing the usual morning activities couldn't warm me out of.

You do have to pay attention to some degree, as it's possible to get your right-left glides out of sync, or one leg working harder than the other. But you can still watch TV while gliding along.

It's primarily a lower-body exerciser, but it works better to tighten your gut muscles, and there is a small upper-body component that can't hurt, might help.

All in all, I do believe I've made the right choice for a home exercise contraption.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Tiny Triumph

I rode today!

No, not Ben; he's retired for good. Nope, I rode a calm, steady little Haflinger schoolie -- the guy Hilly gives lessons to beginner little girls on, but who's up to my weight, even in my Aussie saddle.

With Hilly offering occasional advice and otherwise chatting with me on this and that, we walked and we trotted, which was fun once I got used to the very different feel of his short stride compared to my spider-legged TB. Royal was in his bitless bridle, the one he wears for beginners, to spare his mouth from unsteady hands hauling on it. This, combined with his somewhat lackadaisical attitude toward leg aids, made him rather less steerable than sensitive Ben, though I was able to send him in circles and across the diagonal without much trouble. Hilly tells me he's more responsive when he's in a bitted bridle -- "Oops, not a beginner I can tune out; I better listen up now" -- and we'll probably put that on him next time.

Yes! Though I only managed 15 minutes today before my body said "That's enough for now, thankyouverymuch," I am greatly encouraged at how I blew past all my fear issues and physical limitations and had FUN. Solid, sensible, lower-to-the-ground Royal was just what I needed to get back into riding. He's such a good doobie.

Of course, we'll see what my body has to say about it after I've sat here and set up for a while, and when I crawl out of bed tomorrow morning. The hip, yes, is sore now; we'll see if an ibuprofen can quiet it down.

Update: I rode Royal again a day or two later, and this time we remembered to take photos! So here we are in all our glory: