Friday I managed to get off work a little early, and of course squeezed in a visit with Moon before our annual friends' potluck dinner. I had work's snazzy camera along, but of course couldn't remember how to adjust some of the fine settings and since it was freezing out, couldn't snap a lot of photos before my fingers froze off.
There was a car in the lot so I knew I wasn't alone but am feeling confident enough in my riding abilities that I don't mind sharing the arena. Granted, I still tend to run into people but I'm pretty sure that's a me thing, not a confidence thing!
Inside the barn I noticed Moon's blanket is worsening in condition, and there stood the culprit with his owner. Unfortunately, she's a nice enough woman and it's hard to be held responsible for your horse's misbehavior. The patches come on Monday...
I learned that Curly-horse has a name, but it truly doesn't suit him, not as 'Curly-horse' does. We wound up in the arena together since his owner was just tacking up, an aussie saddle, trail rider who made it pretty clear she'd shown up when she did with the expectation of being alone in the ring. I understand her self-conciousness, having been there myself, but I wasn't about to miss out on my opportunity. After W later asked me how they went in the ring, I think I understand now too why last week the owner wandering in with Curly and then wandered back out...she's apprehensive to ride with others.
I do think she got to feeling a little more relaxed, as we had some conversation towards the end of her (20 minute) ride. Curly-horse is 7 years old, she had him for a year and a half and they've predominately trail ridden. He's better outside then in the ring, she doesn't think he'd do well in a stall (I may have let slip that he's been spending the nights inside when it's cold...funny how some people believe their horse's far less capable then they are) and she was planning on moving him to their new property in the spring.
But enough about Curly-horse. Let's talk about Moon.
We had a first.
I was lazy, so I skipped the saddle. And was nervous about it, since I've never successfully ridden bareback at anything faster then a walk. Except for a terribly bouncy, messy trot. That lasted five short strides. On ANY horse.
Until that day. He warmed up well, I put him into some trot, and while it started out a little rough, I wound up trotting the full lengths of the arena, even doing quick transitions from trot to walk to trot without feeling like I was losing my seat.
I was floored! Or seated I suppose.
We did circles and I could FEEL him trying to push my seat to the outside, which made it easier to consciously sit to the inside. My hands got steadier, my seat got solider (not a real word) and I couldn't stop smiling.
Granted, it got a little messy again after we stopped for a 10 minute break of chatting with Curly-horse owner, but really overall, I'm thirlled.
Last winter when I got him, I tried and tried to ride bareback and just couldn't. Yesterday I proved that he has come SOOO far in his training...and so have I.
I feel like I joined an elite team. Of superheros. Who can sit the trot, bareback. I'm gonna do it again and again, I swear I will. This is a whole new world where my horse is a luxury sportscar instead of an old beater lawnmower. He just feels incredible to ride and I'm loving it.
I'm still grinning. Especially when I think back to when I walked out of the tack room yesterday and did a double take of him standing there. Wow. He is looking amazing.
Couldn't have asked for a better ride!
I tried to snap a few more pictures afterwards, but the first couple came out black (whoops) and then Curly-horse became...Curly-horse. See his typical "Pay attention to only me" routine. He also hollers to Moon constantly; Moon doesn't even pay attention.
Unfortunately, after I couldn't get them away from the fence for a better pic. Boourns, the light was even gorgeous.