No, I didn't fall off. I just hadn't been swinging my leg over and carrying on. I was grounded since last Friday, a mixture of being busy, being sick and being lethargic.
I had a post earlier this week, that sat unpublished, the days ticking by and my hand unable to reach for the publish button. It was...too intimate. Not in the R-rated sense. In a..."holy sh*t, what have I been doing all this time?!" sort of way. Deeply personal, the last week's events have finally faded away, and with it, the hidden post.
Things have been blase. Last Friday I had an awesome ride on Moon, and I saw him Saturday and Sunday when I went out to feed. I didn't get any riding in, but it was nice to stand out there and just pet him. Like he was nothing more then a companion, a friend. Expecting no performance, no special behavior. Just sharing our love.
Saturday I also got to visit with a dear friend whom I didn't realize how much I missed until I saw him again. There are some people in your life, that despite extended periods apart, it feels like time has elapsed too quickly, yet not at all. This was one of those instances, and I was a little sadden when it all came to a close.
Sunday was Father's Day, and I am truly lucky. My dad is incredible, and to add to it, offered to help me fix up my car. So I've spent the week hunting down the best bargains on repair parts, and having everything shipped over. The first package arrived today, and I'm excited to see the end to all of this "repair" work.
The BF and I also managed to get the roof back on the pony trailer, and it's really starting to come together. H by some strange luck gave me EXACTLY the wood panelling I needed to finish the doors, and another bought of strange luck allowed my light order that wasn't shipping to be filled a lot sooner then expected!
Work has been...interesting. Changing. Evolving. Just...work.
Thursday I felt a bout of inspiration and chopped off my hair. No, not all of it. Just got some bangs added in. Which to me, is a pretty big deal. Everyone at work on Friday was stunned. They've known me for 3 years, and it really looked different. Then again, for me, it'd been 20 years since I last had bangs!
So then brings us to Friday. When I finally got back on my pony and rode.
I had written a pre-post, about how we were gonna jump and do oxers and be fabulous.
Good thing *that* didn't get posted either!
I would have told you, that our ride was somewhere between crappy and irritating. After a week off, he was...excited. "Run,runrunrunrunrn!" was all that seemed to run through his head.
We tried some jumping and I felt like he was WAY over jumping, not confident, ducked out a bunch of times initially. And then all he wanted was to canter.
I was FRUSTRATED. Capital F, Capital R, Capital U...
So I told him to canter.
The arena was a little soft in spots and the jumps and poles were still out. So we dodged around them. Big canter circles.
And around. Then I brought him back to a walk...and then told him to canter off.
We did WALK-CANTER transitions!
One of MANY canter circles...
Note, my position is finally improved.
And it was awful, but I wasn't even thinking about equitation and my hands or my seat or my body. It was like him and I were locked in this....argument. This horse-human argument, except the fact we didn't speak the same language no longer mattered. We had found a common dispute. Common words.
I'd slow him back to a walk, and then ask for a trot. He'd sass me. I'd tell him to canter depart right from that walk. And off he'd go, rip-roaring around that ring.
Over and over. Walk-Canter. Walk. Walk-Canter. Walk.
We went in both directions. We went quickly. We did tight turns. We went and went and went.
Until somehow, we seemed to settle into one another. We got our rythym back. Our pacing.
Finally, my Moon came back to me. His outburst was finished. He was no longer so worked up. So desperate to run off or run away.
And then we had nice walk-trot transitions. So we gave jumping another try...
It still didn't go well. He stopped refusing jumps, but he still seemed to be over-jumping. I lost my balance a lot, I was sure because he was jumping like a lunatic.
Finally, after two clean, and reasonably nice jumps, I call our ride to an end. He was dripping sweat and probably worked hard enough for one day.
Anyone care to point out that my legs have slipped back? : P
He did BEAUTIFUL neck reining for me. I mean, whereever I pointed him. So smooth. So supple. The best neck reining he's done to date.
Guess what I asked for next? Turn-on-the-fore. Loose reins and all. Did it.
Finally, he was cool and back to breathing normally. I pulled off his hot and sweaty saddle and let him cool and roll.
It wasn't a great ride, not nearly what last Friday was. But he was still my Moon and we tried hard. There's always tomorrow. Or another day. We're riding for the fun of it now. Not like we got any of those canter leads down anyway, right?
I got home late and replayed the video I had taken of that evening's ride.
40 minutes of video (missed a stretch near the end), and couldn't believe my eyes...
Walk-Canter transitions that were lovely. For a horse that can't canter.
For a rider who leaned too far back...except this time when she wasn't trying.
And more impressive for a horse that can't canter?
We had about 20 walk-trot transitions in both directions (about 12 in one direction, 8 in the other). Of those 20 canter circles, guess how many were on the correct lead???
I just kept staring at the video camera.
FREAKING NO GOOD LYING HORSE! CLAIMS HE CAN'T CANTER YET HERE'S EVIDENCE THAT HE CAN WALK-CANTER AND DO IT ON THE CORRECT LEAD!! 20 TIMES! THAT'S NOT A COINCIDENCE!!
Do you know what made it even worse?
Watching the jumping video...
And seeing his little canter stride after the first x-rail, where my legs go waaaaay back and then he comes to a halt before the next jump.
Do you really think that he refused because he couldn't jump it, or because *I* couldn't jump it?
Again, the next round, we do the first two okay, my legs stay under me, but the last one they slip back and then Moon deeks around the jump.
Then there's the distances. As we finally come cleanly through the pattern, I see that I must have miscounted his canter strides. Because he tries for 2 canter strides and chips in. Pops over anyway, but it's not perfect.
The next time through, he tries 1 canter stride and then trot. Better, but still awkward.
Then I had decided to swap to just the last fence. So he goes for 5 canter strides, can't make it and chips in again. I'm perched on him like I haven't a clue what the hell I'm doing through all of this.
Next time through, he jumps from WAY far back, gets over but it's flat.
The last two times, the "best" times as it had felt, I keep my legs under me properly and he has to jump from the long spot.
Again I stared at the video. It's not that my horse can't jump. Not even close.
It's that his rider can't jump.
Not even close! : P
So Moon and I? We'll keep jumping. But I'll adjust my fence distances, and I'll do some no stirrup work. Lots of x-rails and just keeping my legs under me. THAT is what I need.
Do you know what I love most about the whole thing? Staring at those videos afterwards??
The fact that I can *DO* this with my horse. Just, learn. Yeah, I can totally screw up the distances and make him jump from a long spot. YES, I can ride soo poorly that he saves my arse by refusing a jump and I'm too foolish to notice at the time. YES, we can rip around the ring like nutcases, doing walk-canter transitions when nobody's trained us. And you know what? THAT.IS.AWESOME.
I used to be terrified of messing my horse up. Too scared to try anything.
Now? Now I know that while I can totally mess him up, I can fix him up too. And I can erase, undo, recreate and alter anything and everything. I'll never "mess him up" when we're together. I might get some things wrong, but he'll look out for me. And vice versa.
A year ago, when I came to Coach W's, she told me that someday, Moon and I would be so in-tune, that I could mess up, and Moon would say "Don't worry ma'am. I've got this one."
Seriously, if we ignore my terrible form, let's all love Moon's lovely tucked legs, nearly clearing the CHAIRS that are my standards. For a horse that wouldn't jump a year ago, I love how much he'll offer me.
I think we're there. I think we're a team.