There are days that I couldn’t be prouder of my horse and today was one of them.
I’ve been riding Achates pretty consistently over the past week and it feels great to be getting back to where we were. Since September I’ve been trying to change how I ride, focusing on getting away from using my hands and concentrating on more of what my body does. It has been both fun and frustrating playing around with exactly how each shift in my own body effects the way Achates moves.
Thankfully during those frustrating times I was able to turn to a wonderful friend of mine and have a discussion about exactly what I was doing and how it was working. I’ve mentioned it before and I can’t say it enough, I have a really wonderful support system of people who keep me motivated, and I can’t begin to thank them enough.
Since the barn was somewhat of a ghost town today I decided not to ride Achates and lunged him instead. Achate’s has always had an issue with the side reins where he would brace against them and hollow out his back. I usually counter this by gradually working him into the frame, by letting him warm up long and loose and then tightening them once he feels more comfortable. (Side note: I think the only way to use side reins is by gradually shortening them and not over doing it. There’s no reason to get all rolkur on your horse.)
Today he surprised me though by reaching towards the contact, stepping underneath himself and raising his back. Even more pleasant was that he was able to do this with just a hint of contact from the bit, the rest of it was self carriage. I kept waiting for the whole think to fall apart, but it never did. Instead I watched my horse move around the arena looking like something out of my dreams, and tracking up like I had never seen him do before. Even more startling was how much his muscles have changed over the years. He’s gone from a scrawny 4 year old to a muscled up dressage horse right before my eyes!
And right now, in this moment I’m bursting with pride.
This was a horse that I never thought would ever like or be willing to cooperate with me, and there he was in front of me doing something unnatural and willing to keep going if I asked him to. Needless to say it was a humbling and eye opening experience and reminded me to never take those small seemingly inconsequential moments for granted, each one of them leads to the greater thing that you’re working towards.
In other news, one of my friends started her horse training business! She also owns an off the track thoroughbred and has been doing a wonderful job with her. I’m excited to see what this new journey brings the two of them! They are a lovely pair who I know are going to impact the lives of many horse loving people. Check out their website at A&A Horse Development
More than anything right now though I’m excited to keep this journey going and couldn’t be prouder of my warrior. Great things are coming our way!