This morning I wore my breeches down to the barn to do the morning chores. My plan was to ride Winston after chores and before work (I love how it is light so early in the mornings now). However, my back wasn't going along with the program so I decided to longe him instead. I'm trying to listen to my back and honor what it tells me. If it says "do less" I listen and that was the message today.
I took Winston's grooming box with me into Winston's stall so he could munch on his hay while I got most of the mud and dust off of him. After he was clean, I took him into the arena without the longe line or any other tack. I slipped the halter off over his ears and hung it on the fence. He dropped his head to eat the leaves that were scattered in the corner of the arena. I asked him to walk on, and he did.
I was curious to see if he would be as obedient as he was at Alisal in their big rodeo arena. He wasn't completely secure there so I wondered if he stayed in a nice 20m circle around me for security and safety more than obedience. I was pleasantly surprised when he kept an ear on me and circled nicely at walk and trot with my verbal commands. After he was warmed up, I asked him to canter. He used the entire arena, slowing on the short sides, digging in and pushing into an all out gallop on the long sides. He threw in some yee-haw bucks as well. But, he kept an ear on me and went whichever direction I indicated.
Then when he was settled into a balanced canter, I asked him to transition down to trot. He did. Turning the corner onto the long side, he dug in and pushed into a very forward trot. And...oh.my.god. ... he was pushing with his hind, his front lifted into the air, and his front legs reaching forward like he was trying to tough the next county. You know how the Grand Prix horses go into an extended trot and its a mix of suspension and reach all at the same time? He was doing that! My jaw hit the sand of the arena and I started drooling. And then I started gushing praise. He looked at me, smiled, and amped it up again.
I love my horse.
Another sunny, warm day at Aspen Meadows. There is an Alaskan storm on the way though. Cold temps and a slight chance of snow this weekend. Bizarre. In the course of two days we are going to go from teeshirts and sunscreen to jackets and knit caps.