They say time heals all wounds, and perhaps it does. It certainly has an impact on all creatures, big and small.
Yesterday coach W came out and mounted up ol'Moon. I'm not sure why, but my riding has been struggling, probably because of a lot of things if I'm to be honest.
When I first got Moon, we had the excitement of a dream coming true and I was thrilled to have a horse I could ride whenever I wanted. Do whatever I wanted. But slowly that faded away...so we started taking lessons with W.
We loved that. So we moved to her barn. And after awhile we went to H's place and have been there ever since.
We spent that first year at H's showing. It was awesome. The experience of a lifetime and another dream achieved. Winter came, we enjoyed just hacking out, riding bareback, making it more about the company. Another spring rolled around and I was miserable in my home life. Happiness for me was at the barn, and so that's where I spent my time. 5 nights a week easily, I was out there riding like crazy. Until my world imploded.
Which led to the chaos of building a house. It's been about 2 years now from the time I started working on the plans for it, prepping the land, and working the budget. Those 2 years have been 100% about that build, which is now coming (almost) to an end. A close. There's little things sure, that still need to be done, but spending a Saturday afternoon putting quarter-round above the range hood or painting the kitchen door is NOT the same as 3 days of building a fireplace chase in the pouring rain, or hanging from the roof laying shingles. It's just not. Nothing really seems "critical" anymore (aside for a few odd things to please the RM).
The thing though, is that kind of intensity comes with a real let-down. My life is a series of HUGE dreams, each of which seems to come to fruition and then fade away. Which is AWESOME and yet...it means I either need new dreams, or I'll simply exist.
I don't do well with the later.
Of course, I've already lined up a new list of big dreams, and it's harder and harder in life to work through them, because they are far bigger than I am. My world isn't just me anymore, my time is something I happily share amoungst a number of very important people in my life.
So where does Moon fit into all of that??
I fluctuate a lot in this, trying to figure it out. Showing Moon was an INCREDIBLE highlight of my life, and a time in our lives that I am very proud of. But it was expensive, time consuming and required a HUGE commitment. Even if I had the money to spend on it, I'm not sure I'm willing to spend the time on it again. Moon and I are never going to be competitive riders that are anything more than hobbyists. Neither of us has the drive in the ring to out perform anyone other than ourselves, and that means I have no interest in spending the money to see what I can see at home for free. I also don't care enough to sell him for a better mount or anything like that. I don't. Competing just doesn't matter to me, aside from the new exposure it offers and change of scenery.
We love trail riding, but in the same mindset, we're a little bored with it. I love going for a hack to enjoy the company of friends, but if him and I go out, we're happy with a short hack to a good place for a run, and then come home and we're content. 4 hours wandering the trails solo just isn't in our books anymore. Probably because I just can't spend 4 hours on something that doesn't feel like anything is being accomplished. I can enjoy my company anywhere :P
I *know* that has so much to do with the house build. Up until this summer, my time was SO strapped with the build that I lived, breathed and died by that house. I would skip birthdays, parties, get togethers, everything, just to get a couple more hours of work in. I would get home at 4:30 and work until 10:30, shower and go to bed. Every day. Over and over.
Now I see the pile of gravel that needs to be spread and shrug. Meh. I'll get to it.
I see Moon standing in a field and I think "Meh, I'll get to him."
And I don't want that anymore!
Which means I need to feel like something tangible is coming out of my rides with him. And make that happen. Moon needs a new goal. A new dream. But what?!
I stood at the fence line after W mounted up and watched Moon go into full-on evil rabbit face. Round and round they went at a walk and he pulled his lips back and barred his teeth at the world. "Ugh" I thought, seeing the stiffness and frustration and opposition that I've been dealing with. He was tense, he was bracing, he was tweaking all over the place. Ugh.
Not 30 minutes later, I saw something akin to this: (I didn't actually take pictures):
Most of you may think "So?", and that reminds me of how much has changed. Moon started out with me, riding more like this:
And I'm not exaggerating.
In 30 minutes of working with him, I watched her transform him into something I've been looking for for 4 years now. Something I've dreamed about, but believed wasn't truly possible. It sounds horrible, and W would shake her head at me and roll her eyes and probably say "Of course it's possible. You just have to make it possible". But I didn't believe it.
I watched him move around that ring, long and low, moving into contact with the bit, maintaining pressure with her hands, and starting to reach under himself. Use his back.
I looked like this --> :o
That's what I want. I want to develop my skills enough to be able to ride him like W rode him. To be able to ask him to reach down and straight and bend and move around so beautifully. I wanna make that beauty happen WITH me.
When we traded and I got back on him, I didn't have nearly the finesse that W did, and I certainly needed the coaching, but we got further than we had last week. And it felt awesome (aside from the cramp in my side and the pain in my arse from falling down the stairs the day before...).
This is what I want. Moon and I are going to go back into training, for the pure pleasure of searching for that magical moment. I know the moment. It was a year ago or so on W's Josh. This moment when my legs and my upper body became separated. I still remember it like it was yesterday. My upper body just floated above him, and my arms and fingers worked one piece of magic, and suddenly, this separate half of me which was legs and seat, they did something different. And I could work 4 different aids, all independently. I can't even describe it. It was like magic. Floating. Like having a fully moldable piece of playdough under my control. Hands, seat, fingers, seat, legs...it felt like magic. An "out of body" experience on horseback if you would. I've been chasing that feeling ever since.
And I want it with Moon. That's what I want. So that's what we're going to work towards. W suggested 4 nights a week, and while it may be a challenge, I think we can make it happen. I'm already riding again tonight and Sunday, so just need to keep it going. Lots of variety still, but I think with some consistency we'll make some progress.