Nothing like a mix of gorgeous Fall weather full of sunshine, with a cool breeze, good company and my favorite horses to make a girl thank her lucky stars! I've ridden a few times at our barn during the weekday, with and without other rider's, but yesterday was special.
The morning came and I questioned why I even agreed the night before to make the drive to join the morning group ride? I don't do this often. Our barn is a busy training facility, with a constantly changing schedule. You never know what you might find upon arrive, such is the life of working with horses. It's so much easier not to go, considering all the things I could be doing at home. But I loaded up my car, and headed off to the unknown.
The plan was to ride with Phoenix (from our recent trail ride) and Checkers (from our recent show & trail ride) owners, along with our trainer and her apprentice. Just us girls would be riding. It turned out, Checkers owner had vehicle trouble and couldn't join us. Our morning ride had four riders.
It was quiet when I arrived at the barn. I headed out through the wet grass, glazed in morning dew, to fetch Koda. Our horses were so peacefully grazing in the pasture, highlighted by the morning sun. Sigh. I called out to Koda, but couldn't resist heading to Nemo first. I gave the big guy a hug and told him sorry that Brad couldn't be here, even tho he already knew. Both boys recognize my car sound from doing chores back at the home farm. They know what my car means, it's just me.
I thought Nemo would care that he would be left in the pasture, but he didn't. Thought I even saw him glance towards Koda in a "sucks to be you" kinda way, as we meandered to the barn. Koda was a bit puzzled. This was out of the norm, and they had not been turned out for long. Didn't I know, I was interrupting his peaceful morning?!
We tacked up alone, and enjoyed one of our better rides in the outdoor arena. Koda was as close to perfect as a person could ask. Altho he did get me corrected once early in our ride. He spooked at Happy (the resident Dalmatian) jumping out of the tall grass in the pasture. I didn't think it was a big deal, we just jumped to the side, and then simply rode off. I'm not afraid to stand up for myself and questioned getting called on it, after all it was something real. I saw it happen. Sometimes I correct Koda appropriately when he spooks, and sometimes I don't - depends on the situation. If it's warranted, I don't. We had conversation on giving confidence and handling spooks in general, so they don't become bigger. I know there are a lot of opinions on this, but know I'm not talking about getting after a horse, it's more about leadership. I made our trainer laugh, at least I didn't pet Koda. It's my automatic reaction to the little stuff, telling a horse he is okay. I've survived many years of spooks, but I get where things could head south.
On with the ride, I couldn't believe the soft gorgeous lope my boy willingly gave me right away! It stopped the other riders in their tracks, as our trainer wowed us. I didn't do a thing different then any other ride, but I enjoyed every second of it! Incase you are wondering, it was the less challenging right lead - but the left side wasn't too far off. Now I feel like I can officially say, we are back to where we were when his hock trouble started. Deep down, and in reality, I know we are much further ahead.
Another thing that made this ride with the girls so special, was Nemo. I rode him for the first time!! Brad asked me to ride Nemo, or more like "good, if your riding tomorrow then you can ride Nemo". Of course there were witnesses. Not sure if that's asking, or coercing...I quickly responded that I preferred to wait until he was around for our first ride, because he knows his horse best under saddle. I wondered if he thought I would really do it? After the fact, he said he knew I would. Really? Because I didn't.
Our trainer was riding Cierra, and busy coaching Phoenix. I slipped off Koda and quietly headed to the barn to untack. I turned Koda back out and decided to fetch Nemo. I got the puzzled look from him too. Koda was in disbelief, and tried to slip out of the gate with us. He waited at the gate, occasionally calling out. Once Nemo & I were in the arena, he just grazed along the bordering fence line.
My plan was to just walk and jog Nemo around, and get to know him a little under saddle. There are things I already knew about him in general. He is much taller then Koda, and has a lot of feel so he needs to handled, and therefore ridden, with a light touch. Nemo doesn't stop on a dime, and his head is set high. I've heard his lope isn't very smooth. What I didn't realize was just how narrow Nemo's chest/shoulders are compared to Koda. Wow, that was a surprise that became crystal clear when I got on him. Our two horses continue proving to be complete opposites in every single way.
We had a really nice ride together, and Nemo listened so well. He is such a good boy, and even put up with my pole obsession. Nemo's jog is so incredibly floaty, and yes - his lope equally bumpy. The only suggestion our trainer offered was to give him more rein while loping, since Brad rides him on such a loose one. Riding Nemo was really fun! I think I surprised everyone, but mostly myself.
I started my day riding two of my favorite horses, and ended my day waking up to a dream about galloping through the fields bareback on a dark horse, of course with a flowing mane.
|eyes are the windows to the soul|