I had one of the best rides of the summer on Monday night this week. Even though Sox has not been ridden more than once or twice since I went away, he was SO good! I was good too – I expected to be totally off balanced and feeling awkward in the saddle after being gone for so long. Instead, I found myself feeling quite comfortable and getting right into the motion! It was lovely. We rode for about 45 minutes and my friend, L, told me that we looked pretty nice in both our canter and our sitting trot, so YAY!
Friday night, I went riding again with L, this time well after dark. We had the arena lights on, but only 2 of the 4 were working so there were lots of shadows. I know Sox has been ridden at night out there before and he is generally a non-spooking horse, but he spooked twice on Friday! Neither were real big or drastic spooks, unlike L’s horse who spooks at lots things, lots of the times, in a much bigger & more dramatic way. The first was a real small spook, easy to ride out and redirect his attention. The second happened when I finally got him to pick up a nice canter that I finally felt relatively in control of (versus him just basically RUNNING as fast as he can get away with because he LOVES to canter) and we were coming across the arena diagonally and L complimented how absolutely beautiful our canter looked and then he saw whatever monster he saw. And we went that way, then this way, and his head was all over the place, but I actually rode it out relatively calmly. My heart rate definitely went up and it was in the back of my head that this could suck and was slightly nerve-racking, but I kept my seat bones connected to that saddle, kept my back straight (which still feels like i am leaning backwards slightly!) and stayed in control (mostly). We recovered pretty quickly and we did a few trot circles and decided to call it a night there.
L and I walked the horses out for another 20-30 minutes and I tell you – Sox’s walk when he is full of GO GO GO and after he’s had a few good canter laps – is just beautiful and oh so comfortable. It’s so the opposite of when he literally drags his feet – which is his only other mode. SLOW or GO. That’s it. I practiced using my seat and hips to drive him more forward and then to bring it back down as well as some lengthening and shortening of the stride. I haven’t tried to do that with just my seat with any seriousness until Friday night, but with L’s pointers I was able to really pull it off and notice the difference. It was just great.
After we were done riding, we brought the horses in a gave them a real good brushing and all that and Sox was SUPER affectionate, which is totally out of character for him. He was slightly affectionate Monday, which was weird enough! Maybe he is just super duper picky and takes a while to warm up to the few people he likes? Maybe he does like me back? Squee!! That would make me a happy girl!
So it was a great week. If only I could get out to the barn more often! The semester is getting ready to start and I will be so busy in the classroom and with students and with my son’s commitments in taekwondo and his school …I won’t have the time I want. My husband hates me riding and anything equine, so he’s sure to be happy. 😦
Happy riding! Hopefully sooner than later!