The sun was shining. My horse was eager to see me, or realistically wanted out of his stall. Let's go with eager to see me. Trainer Patty said she was thinking of blowing the equine soccer ball up, the one we gifted her upon our departure last year. After Brad said "blow it up more, it's gotta fill the cover" twice, they traded jobs. He went to help her hubby fill the soccer ball, while we headed outside to ride in the arena. Patty warmed Nemo up. The ball was ready to roll shortly after. Within seconds of placing it into the arena, it blew into the corner. Both horses were wide-eyed.
There was a cool brisk wind, the kind that make horses - alert. The trail course we tried last week had been moved outside, and added to. Shortly after warming up, I tried the gate. I could tell they had worked with Koda. He knew exactly what to do, so much that he anticipates it and I have to ask him to wait. We moved onto other things walked & trotted over poles, and worked our way up to a lope. It was a good riding day. I did get one big spook by the scary flat bed trailer, and so we stood by it, making it our friend, and repeated all the gaits passing by it, until it was a none issue.
I tried the rope gate a second time, and while Koda responded to every ask - he swung his hip out, instead of over/closer - as if to walk through the gate. Our trainer helped me realize, I need to cue further back and block his shoulder - aha, I should have known. I worry about not asking clearly, and have noticed our side-passes and spins have gotten sloppier. It's usually not my horse, it's me. Our trainer quickly said, don't feel bad it's part of building a team. Well, this part of the team needs to sharpen their skills!
We continued doing the various obstacles, and I decided to try the lope into the box stop - wow - my horse nailed it so good. So much forward, that I wasn't sure we were going to stop. It got squeals of delight out of our trainer. Our third attempt wasn't as pretty, but aha - now I know what it feels like to do it right. That my friends, was fun!
Brad had an aha moment with Nemo too, while our trainer worked with him and Nemo on softness. Gosh Nemo has leveled out, and looked so darn pretty slowed down and being responsive. I stopped to watch, and was so happy for them!
Koda & I went back to working on our lope, but suddenly I was getting a counter canter...outside leg, inside rein - what was I doing wrong? Not cuing back far enough, again. I did it right, and it caused my weight to shift - and his. While I've done it right (and wrong) many times, for all the years I've ridden, the obvious feeling of weight shifting - in particular Koda's, was another aha moment. I'll cherish this ride, they aren't all like this - and try to remember these moments.
I decided it was time to play, ball. I wish you could see Koda. He perks up, and just loves playing with that darn ball! It's so cute! According to my husband, Koda wasn't the only one having fun - he said he could see my beaming smile across the arena. We kicked, turned, pushed, mostly trotted, but broke into a lope...trying to beat the ball, before it ran into something. I admit, I loved it too. And if that isn't an aha moment, I don't know what is.
Dr. Pimple Popper, Veterinarian Edition
19 hours ago