I will never cease to be amazed by the wonders of the horse. For me, like so many others who have been as blessed as I have, it’s my horse in particular. She’s truly a special blessing in my life that I’m continually grateful for.
Today I woke early at the anticipation of some quality Lexi time. It’s Saturday so I have the day to spend time with her. Thankfully the weather was cooler today though a thick haze of smoke from the forest fires still hung in the air. It seemed more bearable today in twenty degree weather than in the heat of the mid thirties that we endured the past few days.
My coach was away today so we were on our own. I fetched Lexi’s halter and headed down to the paddock. The horses were all intent on their round bale that they crowded around. Lexi was squeezed in between her best buddies, Ocean a very large but sweet warmblood and Guinness a spunky loving three year old. Beside him stood Spirit, a large lovely paint who lives up to his name. On the other side of Ocean were the ponies, Colten a lovely grey Welsh cross and Olaf a little chestnut, who stood munching away. On the other side of the bale stood Coolio, my former lesson horse. Coolio is king of the paddock, even though Ocean and Spirit seriously outsize him, and he had one side of the bale all to himself.
I hung out and watched them all for awhile, marvelling at their interactions and noticeable pecking order. They really are a little community of their own with their buddies and boundaries with the others. Lexi would glance my way occasionally as I chatted to her and the others. She knew I was there to see her and came to let me give her a carrot at one point, but quickly squirmed in behind Ocean when I tried to slip the rope around her neck. She can be a little cheeky. I was enjoying just hanging out with them all and bided my time until she and Ocean decided to walk away from the crowded bale before I walked over to slip her halter on. Considering I was out in the country alone and miles from anyone, I preferred to err on the side of caution and wait for a less precarious situation to catch her than to muscle my way into the crowd. They’re all very good horses, and I’m not afraid of them, but as I watch them defend their space and occasionally persuade another horse to back off, I prefer not to risk standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Lexi happily followed me out of the paddock with her buddy Ocean following close behind. I had to keep an eye and ask him to back up before opening the gate as he seems to prefer to be wherever Lexi is.
We had a lovely relaxed grooming session. Lexi assumed her “Ohhh I’m soooo relaxed” pose as I brushed her out. She lowers her head, relaxes her hind leg and closes her eyes as I groom her and quietly chat to her. It’s a most relaxing experience for both of us. It’s my time with her, regardless of what we’re doing together, that I get to live entirely in the moment. It’s a wonderful way to live. Totally happy, content and at peace. Her way of being seems to rub off on me when we’re together.
We finally tacked up and headed for the arena. We had a small discussion as we neared the arena. She wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to work today. I did manage to persuade her that she actually could work a bit today. I hadn’t asked her to work in the heat earlier this week, but today was cool and over cast. It would be good for both of us. She quickly came around and acquiesced to my request.
Once inside the arena I moved her close to the fence so I could climb up on it to get on. She is always a bit antsy when we first get in there and can’t manage to stay still long enough for me to quite get on. I’m getting quicker as I mount and gain control, and we are getting better at it as I can now find my stirrups while on the move, but it’s still a bit of a challenge initially. Once we’ve worked for awhile I can easily dismount and she will stand perfectly still as I get back on, it’s just our initial start. She’s still so young she needs to work a bit first to get focused and paying attention. We started at a walk around the arena. She did her usual startle in the corner where the tarp was and another couple of “oh my god what’s that!” side steps before I brought her to a trot. She easily got into frame and was going at a nice working trot. We worked on our walk trot transitions, changing the rein and working both directions. I brought her to canter. Wow! Her transition was awesome. Last week I thought we were just having fun on our long trail ride, but clearly we accomplished something too. My seat was so much better in the canter! I easily maintained my balance and even managed the two point with success! We worked on our canter transitions around the arena. It was going so well I decided we should try some jumps, even while out there alone.
I hopped off and rearranged a couple of the jumps that were already up and hopped back on. We cantered around the arena coming back to a trot before our first jump. Up and over, finishing at canter. We worked going over them in both directions. She did great. She had no hesitation and consistently hit the centre with no inclination to waver to the side or avoid it.
As we both tired I brought her back to a walk and decided to try some work without stirrups. I lifted and crossed them over my saddle so as not to be in the way. Inside leg she stepped out to the rail, outside leg to circle. We moved both directions around the arena. She moves so easily off the leg without stirrups. I can leave her reins loose and move strictly off the leg. She just amazes me.
We worked at a walk without the stirrups as I cooled her out. We had such a good ride. We both ultimately enjoyed it very much. She is proud of herself when she does well, and of course I can’t help but lavish praise. She loves to be appreciated for her efforts and shows it in her mannerisms and posture. She almost puffs up with pride, knowing it was a job well done.
We had some hugs and rubs on the neck as I untacked and brushed her. I gave her some carrots to thank her for the great ride. She nuzzled my hand and let me give her a hug. She’s not generally big on hugging, but indulges me occasionally. Especially after a good ride. She seems to “get” my enthusiasm and appreciation and will accommodate me when warranted.
Time spent with my girl leaves me happy, relaxed and refreshed. She has the most profound effect on me and on all the other parts of my life. She has, in her intuitive wisdom, greatly enhanced every aspect of it. I couldn’t love or appreciate her more. She is truly a wonder and one of my greatest pleasures in life.