For me there is nothing better than an evening at the barn and having a good ride! It was a lovely evening for our lesson night tonight. The weather was warm and there was no wind. An occasional light sprinkling of rain but just enough to make the spring air fresh and such a pleasure to breath in.
Lexi called to me as I walked up the lane. The huge smile broke over my face as I saw her! I called back with an enthusiastic greeting “Hi babe! How’s my girl?” She met me at the gate and easily let me slip her halter on to lead her out the gate.
Both Lexi and Sugar were a bit frisky tonight, ripping around their paddock when I arrived. They seem to have a lot of fun together. She was prancing and high stepping as we made our way down the lane toward the arena. But tonight I was ready for her with the groundwork lessons and practice we have been doing. I utilized the tools I had learned, stopping her and backing her up. I consistently put her in a better position to respect my space as we made our way in. Wow! What an improvement! I was able to get her to pay attention and behave respectfully. I felt confident with her and she responded really well. She calmed as we walked along and slowed her pace as she relaxed. I was able to show her easily what I expected and she gave me the results I asked for! At the barn, the alley way was busy tonight. There were lessons in progress in the arena. In the alley way Adar was being tacked up for a ride at the far end and Laredo was getting a massage treatment near the entrance. But, we were able to confidently and successfully navigate the busyness as we had set some expectations on the way in. I was feeling the progress, and starting to see our groundwork paying off!
I brushed her out and tacked her up. We headed out to the grassy area to lunge while the lesson in progress finished up. I’m learning it takes her about twenty minutes to get focused and working well. We lunged both directions, working on her transitions and keeping her focus. I felt the odd drop of rain as we began and hoped it would hold off until after our warm up. Just as we were finishing up it started to come in a steady sprinkle. Perfect timing! I was grateful it had held off, but quickly brought her back inside before my saddle got wet.
It was time for our lesson so we entered the arena. There was one rider working her thoroughbred, and another with her Arabian who had just finished a lesson chatting with my coach. I walked Lexi around the arena a few times to give her a chance to feel settled with the other horses in there. She was calm and relaxed so we headed for the mounting block.
There were poles set up from the previous lesson. My coach jokingly said “Are we going to do some pole work tonight?” She was surprised when I enthusiastically responded “OK!”
We’ve just been getting back, but I was feeling good tonight and Lexi was relaxed and responsive. Tonight was the first we’ve ridden with another horse in the arena and worked at a trot over poles! Coming back from an injury is a bit tricky, both physically and psychologically, but tonight was wonderful! I held my breath over the first pole feeling the fear in anticipation of the possibility she might give me a bit of a jump. My last jump and the months of recovery still vivid in my mind. It was completely uneventful and I was able to relax the next time over. It was all feeling very familiar and comfortable again. We had overcome another hurdle on the road back. Lexi and I both enjoyed it! She almost seemed to say “About time Mom.” as she got in the groove and started to work. It was wonderful!!
It’s been a journey overcoming the physical and mental challenges imposed from my fall, but a very satisfying one. Tonight I remembered the exhilaration of a successful ride! We still have a long way to go, but I’m learning so much and feel we have a productive and FUN season ahead! Next goal – to be ready to attend a clinic in June. It’s a great opportunity that I don’t want to miss. Onward and upward!