I apologize in advance to those of you who are not bitten by the horse bug. This post will be egocentric, narcissistic, self-congratulatory and smell of horses from start to finish, (but in a good way).
My week was rough; a client who insisted on bringing me to my knees, just to prove he had that power; the usual beginning of the month worries about making ends meet and a missed opportunity yesterday that cannot be replicated, was all Hubby's fault; and in addition proved he wasn't listening or paying attention to something I thought was important for our future plans.
I could easily of cancelled my riding lesson and pulled the covers over my head, but I know from experience that the best thing to do was to get myself into horse-land.
Suffice to say that this fifty year old peels back the years, forgets anything and everything but what she is trying to achieve and the measured responses she is getting from a four legged saint called Gary Cooper.
Gary is a school horse. He is young and healthy and so good natured that he puts up with many riders who are just learning the basics. He is ridden English and Western style and does trail rides too. The horses are not over-worked and they are well fed, groomed and the tack is fitted and in good condition. However, balance and bend are something the horses are mostly left to find for themselves as they serve their role in entertainment riding.
I'm no great competition rider. I was always interested in increments of progress and communication. I have worked well with young horses and done the basic daily warm ups on some great equines so that better, and more competitive, riders could concentrate on higher level work. A scary number of years have gone by since I have been able to ride on a regular basis.
I have ridden G.C. less than half a dozen times, and then only once a week. Today's canter serpentines with calm and balanced transitions down to a stride of walk, correct leads at canter and a little horse who was carrying himself through each of the five loops like a pro. were really cool for G.C. and I both. (This is a horse who would normally pick up only the right lead and had never been asked to canter other than in a corner of the arena. His circles fell in to the middle and his transitions down to trot were a flurry of sewing machine like leg-pistoning as the back end caught up with the front).
It is always rewarding to achieve quantifiable progress. G.C. is a quick learner and remembers from one week to the next. The work we are doing should make his school life easier. It certainly improves the rest of my world.
There was mention this evening of a private horse owner who might want me to exercise her horse from time to time. I won't give up on my buddy G.C. but I wouldn't say no to a few more hours in the saddle.