Today was much better temperature wise, but I felt horrible when I got to the barn. I took some headache medicine and sat down to let it start working. No weed whacking today.
As I waited to see if I would do anything, my horses snoozed under their fans. Luckily the medicine did the trick and I felt more human later. Now I had to decide who to ride.
The day was quiet and I was feeling confident, so I picked Winston. In my post "Mindset" I told about the challenges we have had with Winston and how I have to be in the right frame of mind to ride him. Mom rode him yesterday helping make my decision.
I really only wanted to get him moving. He is our fattest horse, so he needs the work. What I got was better than I could have ever expected.
My rides on Winston normally consist of walking and a little trotting to the left, right is his trouble side. Today I felt no uneasiness when I got on him. We walked to warm up, working on corners. Then Winston decided that it was time to trot... going to the right. I took a breathe and went with it. Gradually I was able to ask for more trot and ask for him to round. We trotted both directions for 15-20mins. I have not trotted him that long in 3yrs. He has such a smooth, open gait that was enjoyable. I was not nervous and I actually had fun riding him today. After the last time I came off him, I did not think I would ever be able to trust him enough to have fun.
Winston loves to work and I was really comfortable, so I asked him to open and close his trot. I have worked him in hand and on the lunge a lot using vocal commands. I used the same commands to help him understand what I wanted. We did a corner and then moved on, then repeat. He responded really well. Plus he was rounding nicely. I was nearly done and asked for another "trot on." Winston moved on, did a little canter skip, went on trotting. I used my inside leg to bend him after I felt the skip. Surprisingly, he picked up CANTER. It was the smoothest transition I have ever felt. Then my heart skipped a beat. We were cantering, OH Boy. The last time I was on him and he took off in a canter I ended up on the ground. Again I took a breathe, then put my shoulders back and after a couple strides he smoothly transitioned down and halted. I was absolutely amazed. I gave him sugar and loved on him. Mom has been thinking about cantering him, but it never even crossed my mind.
I will admit that I was a bit shaky from adrenaline. I asked him to trot a bit more then hopped off.
We both ended the ride feeling great. It was probably the first time I did not sigh in relief when I had my feet on the ground. This time I was happy and filled with our achievement. Winston got a big hug and scratches.
I know that the next ride may not be the same, but I will always have this ride to treasure.