Monday, March 9, 2009

Faith Restored

I got to ride BOTH days this past weekend! WHOO!

It was 60+ in the sun and 50 in the (shady) barn on Saturday. SO NICE! Even the MUD was worth it! My dad came to get C at 9AM and they went up to camp. (Camp is on a small pond only 20 minutes from my house). That gave me time to do my stalls, clean the barn, and ride!

Dreamy was as high as a kite! WHOO! She was so fresh, but not in a dangerous way. Being alone, had I felt for one second that I was in danger of falling, I would have gotten off. But that is the nice thing about her. She might be all "get up and go", but she is never hard to ride or control.

We walked around, breaking a path through the snow, and the footing was excellent. When I asked her to trot the first time, she instead gave me the loveliest canter depart ever! LOL! She was like, "Can we just canter today every time you put your legs on?" Darn mare KNOWS the difference between a trot cue and a canter cue! But no, she just canters, canters, canters! I did get some decent trot, but it was a bit tense, as she was anticipating the canter. She just wanted to play.

It was a good workout, that is for sure. I planned to ride only the normal 30 mins., with very brief trot and a few strides of canter like I have been doing. Well, it ended up being more like 45 mins. (with brief trots and canters) but mostly WALK WALK and more WALK. It took lots of leg to keep her connected to the bit and WALKING. Good lord! Mares.....my legs are pretty darn sore.

Then Sunday was another nice day. S worked until 2PM and I went right out to ride we he got home. I had a fantastic ride that actually made me cry. Well, not really CRY, but get teary because she was SO PERFECT. Dreamy was focused and calm, completely different from yesterday. She was back to her normal, ho-hum self.

And......drumroll......her canter was just perfect. I had been on her for about 25 mins, but when she gave me that canter, that was it. I praised her like crazy, put her on a loose rein, and let her walk awhile to cool off. Sometimes when your horse is that perfect, you just have to be done. :D

That ride restored my faith in myself, my horse, and our abilities. I think we are going to have a great summer! It was the first time she was totally in contact with the bit the entire time we cantered. She did it twice on Sat., but I was like, hmmm...that was odd, probably just a fluke. I felt excited, but figured not to get too excited. Then on Sunday she was totally THERE the entire ride. And that last canter was just absolutely three beat, steady, slow, and CONNECTED to the bit!!!!! She did not throw her head into the air, she did not fling her body into the canter, but she just sat underneath herself, stepped into the canter very easily, and she used her neck and came DOWN to accept the bit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This has never happened yet! The feeling I had was completely indescribable!!!

I think that was the best six strides of canter I have ever ridden in my life. And to top it off? She came down into the trot without gaping her mouth up and open against my hand. She just softened, accepted, and came down to the trot. There was a half stride of pace there, but what the hell. Everything else was perfect.

Of course, as my very realist and non-horsey husband had to point out, the next ride might suck. Yeah, well, yesterday she proved she really IS a real dressage horse. All my sweat and tears paid off. I never thought she would give me a canter like that. Now that we have done it once, we can do it again. Granted, it was in the snow, and the snow is the perfect footing for getting a nice uplifted canter from a STB. But c'mon, we have been cantering now for a YEAR. That's it!! Only a year!! And I worked so hard last summer to prove Judy my instructor right when she said we would "get it" by October. We didn't, mostly it was my fault for still not riding correctly, but still I felt like I let myself (and her) down.

But yesterday I worked SO hard to keep my leg on her correctly, and I SAT UP so much I felt like I was lying on her back. I was so focused on riding my horse correctly that it paid off. So....thank you Judy. That canter was for you. Now.....if I can only recreate it in a lesson on dirt footing! LOL! ;-)

I know I am nuts, but rides like this are what truly sustain me. Ah.........horses. :D

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