Why would I ever want less than a complete and willing partnership?
Today, I decided to work with Bee, and see how it went. If it went well, I hoped to ride her.
After her bucking incident with my trainer, I went back to the fundamentals. Lots of time standing tied, working on the line in saddle, and ground driving, in the halter and bit, over lots of scary obstacles. I wanted to accomplish a few things--communication through reins and bit, comfort carrying a saddle, and courage to face new obstacles, without me by her side where she can see me (as it will be when I'm mounted).
To prepare her today, I lunged her at walk, trot, and lope, in saddle. I threw the rope around her body, from both sides, until I got her to turn in and accept it. I bent her in to both sides from the ground.
As you can see in the photo, her bend is quite lovely and soft. So soft, that I decided I would have enough control, should I need to bend her in during our ride.
I mounted and rode, and we had the best ride yet. She wasn't sticky or reactive to my leg cues. She wasn't stressed about the bit in her mouth. She yielded to pressure in the bit. She was paying attention. She was calm.
As I was unsaddling her, I felt this feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was the feeling of fear. I hadn't felt it while I was riding her, but apparently, it was there. I told Bee that we probably both have a little of that right now, and about the time we both don't have it--we'll be riding all over the place together. Until then, we don't have to push things. We can continue to take our baby steps and build our courage.
After riding Bee, and praising her to heaven and above, I went to get my boy--my heart horse, Cowboy. I have been trying to ride him every day to improve his elderly condition.
Here, you can see Mt. Spokane between Cowboy's ears.
I got a ride on him yesterday, too. It was sunny and gorgeous out.
It has an adjustable band in the back, which you can customize to fit your own head. It clicks to loosen and clicks back to tighten. Brilliant!!