Today was a lesson day. I didn't have high expectations. I've been fighting the flu for almost two weeks. Other than one day when I didn't leave the couch, I haven't felt sick just dead tired. Some days I can go gangbusters until noon but then I crash. As a result, I had only ridden Jackson once since our last lesson although I did longe him another day as well. The day that I rode him, it went well. We had a little talk while I was tacking him up:
Me: I'll make you a deal. I'll keep my legs quiet if you promise to go forward off my leg and not lean.
Jackson: Hmmm, not sure. It's much easier when you do the work.
Me: Gayle suggested that I use spurs... I'd rather not but.... I told her I'd try this week without and see if you can do this without making my legs fall off.
Jackson: Spurs! There's no need to swear at me! Ok, ok, I'll do my best.
And, he was very good that day. I only rode for 20 minutes because that's all the energy I had but it was an excellent 20 minutes. Prompt transitions, no camel imitations, good honest work.
This morning, I woke up and could hardly open my eyes despite getting my full eight hours. Brett was up and ready to go -- feed, load the trailer, etc. He was already at the barn when I finally managed to drag myself out of bed. Of course, the weather didn't help. This is what I saw when I looked out the front door to the barn.
Did you notice that you can't see the barn? You can hardly even see the arena! Cold, damp, yechy fog.
But then, a few hours later, I had the most amazing lesson on the most amazing horse. My horse! JACKSON! He didn't resist - not even once. Zero camel antics. He lifted his back and stayed in the contact and motored around in a relaxed frame. He even stretched long and low while keeping the contact. He didn't fall in. He didn't fall out. He was straight, he was balanced, he was forward, he was responsive. I had so much happy adrenaline that I never noticed how fatigued I was. He was, truly, like a different horse. The thing that brought tears to my eyes, is that he trusted the contact. He didn't feel like he had to pop his head up and check things out. It didn't matter when planes went overhead, or horses walked by, or Flash called. He kept the contact, he stayed relaxed, he trusted me.
So, it was a great day. Now I'm going to go make some soup for dinner and take a nap.