Gayle hopped on after he was tacked up and then hopped back off. Winston would not settle. She walked him off to the longe arena and I wrestled my tall boots onto my feet. I had bandaids over the blisters on my ankles. Despite wearing the boots around the house at home in the weeks before the show, they were still stiff. I had blisters and bruises from the time hobbling around in them the day before. The felt a tad better this morning and I limped down to the arena to catch up to Gayle.
She longed Winston until he listened and then got on and worked him at canter. The longing arena is huge -- I think you could fit six full size dressage courts in there easily. They were doing laps around the entire perimeter, weaving in between the horses being longed. The air was cold, crisp and breezy. The horses were all dancing on dynamite. There were lots of horses being longed. Winston, who normally looks like a good sized horse to me, looked like a shaggy peanut cantering between the huge, fully clipped, perfectly groomed dressage steeds: warmbloods of all style and color, all gorgeous. I felt like my horse was the country cousin, but a darned cute one.
It was my turn to get on. I can't mount from the ground so I found a raised platform and led Winston over. He stood still while I mounted and then he turned towards the barn. I pointed him towards the arena. He backed up in the direction of the barn. I kicked him forward. He started to rear. I turned him in tight circles and eventually got him to the arena. Gayle had me trot once around the arena perimeter and then pick up the canter. It was glorious. Winston was pushing from his hind and floating along. His canter was perfect with no effort other than a squeeze of my hands on the corners and a hint of leg for bend. We worked on my position - I was rocking my upper body as well as my hips. Gayle had me keep my upper body still by engaging my core, while still moving with Winston in my seat. We did a number of circles around the perimeter in each direction and then called it quits. Winston had never cantered so much in his life and he was tired. He was also very pleased with himself. And he knew that I was thrilled with him.
While I was taking my lesson, Brett was busy cleaning out Winston's stall and adding fresh, clean shavings. They were both tired.
They dozed together. Then Winston found a new toy he couldn't resist. He tried to take it, unsuccessfully.
That's not your hat, Winster.
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