You know when you’re riding and you feel those moments come through that for a second everything is in a harmonic, rhythm? Every part of your body and your mind is communicating to the horse just right and in return the horse is responding by traveling in balance, in rhythm and in excellent focus. You know in those moments that what you’re feeling is exactly right. You feel it and suddenly you grow an obsession of sorts, of a driving force to go to that place, all the time, every-time. Parts of my ride yesterday were like that. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like that in the saddle!
Bax picked up a nice canter and in the beginning we were cruising over a simple pole on the ground. My goal was to stay light, stay balanced and ride the pole like it was a fence. Eyes up, shoulders up, heels down, hand light, seat light, moving with the motion, balanced, supportive and riding in the moment. At times the distance was off, or I was too focused on one part of the equation, that others faltered. This is how riding works. You diligently pursue mind and body to build an ultimate riding machine, so you can better communicate to your horse. It teaches you to be very aware. In order to ride that fence right, you have to have all your ducks in a row and all cylinders firing. That’s why riding is such good therapy. When you put your mind and body ‘there’ the horse responds with as much as you put into it. – Some make you work harder for it, some like Bax, make you strive for it because the connection with the horse spans deeper. – This horse loves to jump. My friend who owns him described him as “attacking the jump.” He goes towards it on a mission. It’s the coolest thing to be riding a horse with as much drive to hit that fence as right as you want too.
We went on to jump a small vertical and work on more technique and played jumper with a tighter turn and therefore a smaller window for preparation and to arrange all those ducks in a row. It was so much fun! Then we did an in and out, with a cross rail to another vertical which was between 2’3″ and 2’6″. The end portion was cantering to the small vertical, which was set on the diagonal, jumping the in and out and then back over the ground pole. With this I also got to further practice the flying changes coming out of the jump, which is also so much fun. It felt so good and I was so proud of Bax and I.
Later on in the day on Tuesday, Reason also got his chance to go out. It was a tack walking day. Reason was a very good boy. He gave me some attitude in little tiny bits here and there, but that’s also him and it was over as quickly as it began. He was very pleased with himself.
Yesterday I rode Reason for another tack walk. I wanted to casually walk the pasture on the buckle and allow him to take us to the areas he desired. The footing in some spots of the pasture are hard, crusty and not comfortable for the dark horse to travel over, but he knows where the good spots are. I do too, but I wanted him to work for himself a bit. I guided him if he ventured off, but left him alone for the most part. I created boundaries, but gave him the door and the opportunity to make the right choice. We had some great walking in. The whole ride his head was low, there was not fighting, chomping or sour attitude related to the bit. We watched as a tractor came by to mow the ditch for the county and the cows across the street once again lined up to watch their neighbor horse-friend walk around all dressed up.
Reason is such a curious horse. Ink was much the same way and it’s something I love and encourage, encourage, encourage. When Reason heard the tractor coming down the road, long before I heard or even saw it, he began to want to walk straight towards the fence parallel to that road. We watched as it went by and he kept wanting to get a little closer and watch all the action.
I had only one little test from Reason, but it was needed. I knew he may test his boundaries at one point and I was open to it. I knew that it would be an excellent opportunity for me to further establish the guidelines (that he needs to truly become a confident, happy horse). As we were walking in the opposite direction of the shelter, where Errika was hanging out in, Reason stopped. I gave him a squeeze to see what he would do. He swished his tail, I turned him in a circle, kicked and we carried on. We didn’t have any problems after that and I think he was happy that I handled it that way and happy to see me rise to the leader he needs and wants me to be. I allowed him to make the decision to react that way as I carried on with walking, there if he needed my guidance, but he didn’t sway. With that I ended the ride.
Lately everything is going so well and I’m so thankful. I’m meeting new [horse] people and reconnecting with old people and of course more horses! I just love it! The horses have taught me a lot about myself, who I want to be and just, life. They truly are special creatures with amazing gifts in everything they do. What is special, what is meaningful lies in the journey, the end goal is a reflection of it.