The horses are shedding like crazy, and because of it, look like crap. Honestly. So ugly is the shedding mottled horse.
I was already sore from my previous night's adventure in bull riding. Let me say, that I indigently argued that the bull was not representative. I mean, he wore a slick leather saddle that offered no stick. Then when I got on, the bar manager was using it to vent his frustration and I was tossed in 10 seconds. My poor girlfriend lasted five.
After a couple of drinks and dancing, I took a second go at it, determined to actually stick it. Thankfully the actual bull-operator was back, and I had an impressive little ride. So impressive that I tore the horn clear off the bull's head.
|Trail riding w/H through the thickly falling snow.|
I do know how to de-horn ; )
So come Sunday morning, I was *aching*. Between two bull rides, a number of hours of dancing, and driving the tractor around the last couple of days, my body was just plain ol' sore.
After H and I put in three miles bareback on our boys, I headed over to Coach W's to meet Josh. Josh is a...Hanoverian/Arab/Draft cross? Something like that. He's a big horse like a warmblood, refined slightly in his face and his movement by the Arab, and then thickened through his legs with the draft. But his neck and barrel seemed to keep the lovely warmblood feel to it.
It by surprise, turned out awesome the time that W had me show up at the barn. A good friend from the barn was there tacking up to ride her sweet delicate mare, a girl who used to board at H's and ride with us was also tacking up for a jumping lesson, a jumping lesson with a friend who bought a mare I loved dearly and showed Pas a Deux with me last summer, plus one of the stable helpers who used to ride the ring on Wednesday's with me. It was like home coming or something!
Coach W got Josh all ready and we headed into the ring. I watched her ride him and he was beautiful in his movement. He's a 2nd level horse. and she had some beautiful lateral work. Shoulders-in, Haunches-In, Side Pass, Leg Yield, all that stuff. She made it look so effortless.
I was told by a couple of people that he can be a bit strong and "go-y". Which inherently made me nervous since it's just not my riding personality. I don't argue with a horse. That's probably why Moon and I so often get along, because he's a fairly giving soul and I don't have to spend time fighting to hold him back. My experience with pull-y horses is that they exhaust and frustrate me, and we end up fighting and it gets dangerous. No thank-you.
After watching W go around for 1/2 an hour, she asked me if I wanted to try him. I was sore, and tired and haven't ridden in a saddle since October! I haven't ridden in a ring with others since October, I haven't even HELD reins properly with connection since October.
Um... : s
"Can I just walk him around?" I asked. Oh horse people. We just can't help ourselves.
So I mounted and just wandered about slowly.
He was lovely.
Where was this "go-y"??
He was extremely light and responsive on the aids, and before I knew it, we were leg yielding and doing shoulder-in.
Then I asked for a trot. And I sat his beautiful floaty trot around the ring and was amazed. How lovely!
Coach W called out to try some shoulder-in at the trot...
And after a couple of tries, I got him to do it.
I rode and was in heaven.
While I *love* trail riding Moon, love spending time leaping on him bareback, galloping him like a crazy down the field, *this*, the beauty of training and schooling, and doing circles and bending and movements in an arena, is something I *equally* adore.
I MISSED like crazy the time I spent last winter in Wendy's arena, schooling Moon. I missed schooling like crazy! I missed leg yields and side passes and working the sitting trot. My gawd, I honestly LOVE DRESSAGE.
I love it.
I thought before it was such much a means to an end, but it isn't! It IS something I love.
I can't believe it's been so long. Part of me never wanted to get off. How responsive he was. How easy it was to be up there. How trustworthy this strange new horse felt. I never once felt like he was going to run off or spook or throw me. I *did* feel like I needed to stay engaged and focused on what I was asking of him, but not in the sense that I'd be in danger otherwise. More in the sense that I wouldn't be encouraging proper form and work from either of us.
W *knew* I would love him. He's got Moon's stability, a little bit more spunk to challenge me, and the training under his belt such that for the first time in a *very* long time, the horse knew more than me (Moon and I are equally clueless), and *I* was up there applying my knowledge to get the right response from him. If I could use my aids correctly, HE would respond. This wasn't *me* training while trying to learn like it is with Moon. This was me *only* learning.
|Joshua, my new bud.|
And I've never ridden a horse as well trained (crazy, I know. But the most trained horses I've been on have been ol'lesson horses and they have at most, leg yield).
I've never even ridden anything part warmblood before! : )
I'm not sure you could peel the smile from my face!
And W knew that would happen.
So when we walked him back out to his paddock, she asked *the* question: "Do you wanna ride him again?"
Why? Because W is headed off in November to train with her horse in England! Which is incredible and super exciting! We're all doing all we can to get her there. And that will mean this beautiful black beast will be without her for a year : o Which there's no way W is okay with that. So she needed to find a good surrogate...
And guess what?
By some miracle (because I'm a rather defunct rider at best), she thought we'd be a nice match. He'd get riding, I'd get training. Training that I can take back to dear Mr. Moon.
And since she's on my way home, and she's 3 miles from Moon-pie, and since my house should be all built by the time she goes such that I'll have no money but tons of time, it's the *perfect* opportunity for us both.
I can't imagine a better scenario. I'm bound and determined to get this house up, and THRILLED at the thought of spending a year riding a second level horse, doing crazy awesome moves I've never done before (haunches in!!! : o ), being able to occupy my time with something I love, AND getting to help Coach W out?! It doesn't get better.
You know what else is awesome??
My man. For one, he's really supportive of my riding. That's tough to find in a man, but he always asks how Moon is doing, knows the names and owners of all the horses I ride with, is coming riding tomorrow for my birthday, and when I told him about riding this new horse for a year, he was thrilled for me. : )
Perk #2 about him? When we first met and I learned he was a retail manager, I groaned. Ugh. This man works WEEKENDS! Isn't that the best time to spend together??!
Weekends are the *best* time to spend riding horses ALL day. Which means I get *two* solid guilt-free days to ride ALL day, and he doesn't care. He's at work. Plus Friday's after work too.
In turn, he gets two solid days to do whatever he wants, and since I'm at work, I don't care.
Then the evenings we get to spend together. Happy that we each got time to ourselves doing our passions, and not being irritated with each other that those passions came ahead of spending time with the other person.
Somehow, what previously irritated me, is now a definite relationship perk.
So starting this winter, I'm gonna ride two horses, at LEAST three days a week! : D And it will be awesome! Maybe more. And having access to an indoor arena makes it even better on those cold winter nights. You can do SO much more when you have that. Light at night? Awesome!
I'm thrilled. So thrilled. Coach W offered to give me a couple lessons on Josh so we can work out how he's best ridden to get what she wants out of him and so I can get back into schooling shape, and then I'm free to ride at will. Since I'm out Tuesday's and Thursday's anyway, maybe those will stay my riding days and I'll just tack Josh onto the mix.
Hehe! Such an awesome birthday present from W! Pony time!!
(Yes, I'm still like six!)
After we gushed at each other for awhile about how thrilled we were about the match, I climbed into my car and turned on the heated seats. Oh my body.
Drove home with *just* enough time to shower before my family showed up for birthday dinner. Yummy chinese food, and then cake and presents back at my place.
I got a nearly *complete* agility set for Halo! Weave poles, run-through, two crawl-unders, a ramp and a tunnel! She has everything but jumps (we *could* use the horse ones) and a teeter-totter. So I'm going to set them all up this spring/summer and we'll get working on that too.
I know, where will all this time come from? Build a house with my bare hands, ride two horses, retrain my dog in agility, keep a relationship with my hot man, still get in time to visit H and my little niece and nephew, AND I forgot to mention, I *finally* got enough gift certificates to buy my archery target!
That's right. New archery target for my recurve bow, to take out to the property. No cost to shoot anymore! Which means I can start practicing again! Yippee!
Yes folks, no sleep for the wicked. Which if you're me, you LOVE having so much going on that you have no time at all.
So excited! Where's SPRING?!! : P
Oh...and I also got a *beautiful* english saddle charm bead for my Persona bracelet! From my dear friend and her little 3 year old girl. I love it and am all about wearing it now! Everything is coming up horse!