In my last post about riding, before I left for vacation, I told you of a ride at Riverside State Park where Leah wanted to trot down hills, without looking where she was going, and break into a runaway to the trailer. You can read about that adventure here. Luckily, I was riding with a patient friend who allowed me to take the time and train her, mostly on the lesson that it is easier, and quicker, to walk back to the trailer than to runaway back to it. It's easier to listen for direction for each foot down a steep hill than to barrel down it.
Because of my vacation, however, the lesson hadn't been put to the test.
Yesterday arrives, and it has been two weeks since I was in the saddle, but everything she was showing me on the ground--respectful leading, her joyful leap into the trailer, her calm while tacking up--told me I'd be okay to just jump on and go. And, I did.
We rode through the obstacles--Golden! We walked out on the trail--Golden! Her pace was more calm and even. She was listening for cues. And, when we hit the steep hills, she was listening for me to tell her about speed and where to put her feet. Some of the places where she had previously balked and refused to go forward--she signaled she'd like to turn, but when I pointed her back that direction, she faced her fears and led the way through.
I could feel her wanting to do all the things she'd done previously, Leah is very obvious about what she's thinking, but she was making a decision to do it right and get the ride over. That is SMART! And, what a memory!!
So, yeah, I'm a proud mama today. It is validation that time in the saddle, wet blankets, trail miles--make a good trail horse. It's validation that she has it in her to be a good, solid trail horse.
That makes me so happy.
The weight loss. The winter work. The restricted diet this spring. The moving her in and out of the herd, so she won't be on any green grass. The work with the side reins. The great farrier. She is coming together in mind AND body.