It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech ~ Mark Twain

And what do I write, when I haven’t done anything, and yet so much has happened? Undemanding time to heal our bond, a vet appointment to map out a pain management strategy, and a handful of family walks. Our first full circle at Liberty with rhythm, relaxation, and contact — in the arena, no less. Giving rides to 10-year-old girls, including hopping up on the pedestal with all four feet and then looking expectantly around for a treat.

The neighborhood walks have been good for us all, although I noticed I spent more time standing while he grazed once we got to the school. That’s not exercise! Some neighborhood kids came running over though to pet the horses and that was good socialization for Salsa.

Rocky will take himself to the pedestal any time he feels confused, resistant, or playfully defiant. I have stalled for so long in our patterns, still just starting level 3 on-line and level 1 liberty, but sporadically and not in the round pen.

I did consult with Dr. White today about whether I can use bute for Rocky on the occasional basis — when I’m going ride, for example, which I barely have been doing even once a week. He said it would take about an hour for the bute to take effect and then it would last for about 12 hours. (I am building a mini-site for Dr. White at BearRiverAnimalDoc.com.)

Seeing as I am Rocky’s perfect match, as we’re going to do trails and gentle arena patterns, with not a lot of speed or sharp turning, this will be a good strategy going forward. I’ll give him food with it and we’ll spend that hour warming up by stretching, moseying, and walking around the neighborhood (and not stopping at the school to graze, but really walking the whole mile, as I am so tired of being unfit and lost). He will be happy to be back into progress and provocativeness.

In the meantime, I am traveling so much in January that I took advantage of Erin’s “winter maintenance special” and have Rocky in development with her. She will play with him twice a week this month so I don’t have to worry about him while I’m bouncing around from client site to client site. (Leslie will be here to take care of the place and the other animals.)

I was able to watch the first session yesterday and it was so cute to watch him concentrating and learning — and then glancing at me with an “is this right?” question on his face. Top it off with Centella mirroring his every move, at Liberty … priceless.

Salsa is being more snotty with me than ever, as I have neglected our relationship since what, Thanksgiving? That’s the ebb and flow of life in a freelancer’s herd, I guess. He has bonded closely with Jan, though, and has made it clear that he is Jan’s Pony. So, okay, I bought the new levels; Jan can start with him on her spring break.

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