Well, I had another follow up visit with my surgeon yesterday. I am doing really well. However, he doesn't recommend getting back on Gem for at least another two weeks and when I do, I have to get someone to saddle and unsaddle him for me. I will not be able to lift his 75 lbs. saddle (OK, it's only 35 lbs.!) for another few weeks. :-( I hate feeling "helpless" and asking for assistance, but I guess I am going to have to suck it up if I want to get back on Gem sooner rather than later.
Jean rode Gem in lesson last week. I was unable to watch the lesson but Jean told me they both really got a work out. She had to really work at getting him to lope, but once he realized that he was going to have to work, he started listening to her cues. However, he kept picking up the wrong lead - unusual for him as he almost always picks up the right lead. He's a smart horse, so my conclusion is that Jean was sending the wrong cue. Obviously, there were a lot of starts and stops. They were both puffing at the end of the lesson. Jean admitted to being quite sore the next couple of days.
Jean also rode him last Saturday and I did get an opportunity to watch that session. I must admit that initially when I see her riding him, I get a little jealous. But after I got over myself, I really started to watch what Jean was doing. STA joined me watching my beautiful boy and we both said at the same time "wrong lead" as Jean transitioned to a lope. She tried again and again. I noticed that Gem's nose was bent outside (those lateral moves again!) and he was not bending around her inside leg. STA agreed. I mentioned it to Jean afterwards over a cold alcoholic beverage. As we were enjoying our drink, she actually got a little misty-eyed when she realized that she may only have another couple of lessons on Gem. She has grown quite fond of him and has really enjoyed the challenge of riding him - push button school horse, he is not!
My non-horsey friend has continued to help me groom Gem. As a matter of fact, she helped me give him a bath last weekend. He was stellar. I still believe that he understands that I am not 100%. He has been so kind lately. My friend is getting the impression that Gem is such a gentleman! She has not had an opportunity to see him push boundaries. :-) My friend walked him in the front paddock to dry him off. With the warm weather we have been having, it didn't take long.
He certainly has not being neglected over the last few weeks. Jean is riding him and so is LA.... my friend and I get to baby him. :-) I have had no guilt over not being at the stables 3 times a week and knowing that he is being taken care of has helped me concentrate on recovery.
I really, really miss riding. I may not have been exercising myself in the saddle over the last few weeks, but I certainly have been exercising my "riding" mind through reading. But, when I think about getting back in the saddle, my heart races with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Boy, when I do, I hope it's like riding a bike - it all comes back to you!
What was I thinking.....?