I tested the waters with some shoulder-in and haunches-in and it quickly became apparent that wasn't the ride I had to do. Instead, we worked on half-halts and using them to collect, not kill the motor. We did leg yields one step at a time, half-halting on the straight parts, and rode every step of the shoulders through circles.
We finished with just a few circles at the canter, and he was more maneuverable and balanced than he's been in months. Whooooo! I'm not thrilled he had two weeks of just free-longeing but they actually seemed to have done him some good both mentally and physically. I think we've finally reached a tipping point for his muscle development, in that we're layering good on top of good and now that there's definition it will only increase.
My hand was pretty much fine; right now it only hurts if I bump the cut or make a tight fist. Just a little while longer and it will be all healed.
Even better: HOUSTON, WE HAVE SHEDDING!
Then, there was Friday. Friday was an insane sprint at work from start to finish and I was so much in the zone that as soon as breathing space appeared, I packed up, changed into barn clothes, and headed to the barn, only a little bit later than I'd hoped for.
Then I stepped outside my car, sniffed the air, and realized crap, it's really cold. Checked my phone: yep, 8 degrees. No riding for me. So I thought: I'll make the most of it! I did Tristan's topline exercises, did carrot stretches, fussed over him generally, and then started to get excited about the prospect of a quiet night of getting home early and maybe watching a movie and getting to bed at a reasonable hour, something that hadn't happened in two weeks.
Got in the car, headed up the driveway, and put my hat down on the passenger seat. I glanced down to see where I was putting it for just a split second and as I did that, I could feel the right front wheel of the car catch in slightly deeper snow and then a split second later...
And then I swore a lot and pounded the steering wheel, and tried to back out: no dice. I got out front and walked around the car and attempted to dig the wheel out, then back out: no dice. Working student arrived over the hill to grain and tried to help me push it out: no dice. Kindly farmer stopped and saw us struggling, helped dig the wheel out and helped push...well, you get the idea. I had popped just enough off the road that the undercarriage of the car was beached on the snowbank and the right wheel was in mid-air over the drainage ditch.
So I called AAA, grabbed a book, went in to give Tristan more kisses, and sat in the tack room practically on top of the heater. An hour later, the tow truck arrived and hauled it out, and an hour after that, I was home in my pajamas eating pizza. Sigh.