My Lexi has such personality. It’s so much fun getting to really know her. I’m learning that she has good days and bad days just like I do. I’m learning to accommodate expectations on a day when I’m a bit off or on a day that I sense she’s a bit off. But the days when we’re both at our best – those are the really inspiring ones that leave us both feeling on top of the world. Learning when to push harder and when to lighten up makes our time together not only more enjoyable but a whole lot more productive.
I’m starting to learn when she’s testing me to see what she can get away with or if she has a legitimate issue or concern. She’s very smart and I can be tricked but I’m learning. My lessons with experienced horsewomen are invaluable in my journey.
Sunday was one of our “we’re both on our game” kind of days. As I wandered up the lane toward Lexi’s paddock, I spotted her up by the outdoor arena at the very edge of her paddock. I quickly took a sharp left to head in her direction. “Hi babe! What’re you doing over here?” I called out, entirely oblivious of my surroundings.
“Hi! How’s it going?” A voice called out. I glanced around a little startled as I took for granted that Lexi and I were the only ones around. There stood our barn manager Mackenzie in one of the paddocks. She had been fixing the horses waterers.
“Hi!” I called back. You caught me talking to my horse. I didn’t see you there.” I blushed. We all acknowledge that we talk to our horses, we just generally try to keep it more on the down low. It was nice to run into her on this sunny afternoon and enjoy a little “horse” talk with a fellow barn junky.
I brought Lexi into the outdoor arena to practice the groundwork learned in our last two sessions. We also worked on her walk trot halt transitions both on the lead and lunge line. She was working beautifully today! We were both relaxed and having fun. I had decided prior to my arrival I would just feel it out and see how we were working together and decide how much we would do. When we finished our session I decided to bring her into the barn to give her a good grooming.
The barn was quiet so we took our time. I brushed her out taking time to chat with her and give her rubs on the neck, withers, and poll. I really don’t know if rubbing a horse on the top of her head is considered appropriate for a horse, but she really really likes it, and it just seems to be a go to for me – likely due to being a lifetime dog person. So we’re just going with it for now.
We seemed to be on a roll today and the arena was free, so I went ahead and tacked her up. Mackenzie was still out working in the yard so I knew there was someone around to call 911 if needed. Today was the day I would ride solo. Another hurdle to cross on my road back. It was hard to imagine now that just last summer I would go out riding in the fields alone with no one around for miles, jumping whatever we could find in our path.
We entered the arena and I walked her around a few times to settle her and let’s face it – me too. As we approached the mounting block I felt my heart begin to race, feeling the apprehension at the prospect of riding alone. Knowing full well there is no hiding your feelings from your horse, I walked her around a few more times while her quiet disposition and sweet horsey self calmed my nerves and miraculously brought my heart rate back down to normal. I was feeling relaxed and once again headed for the mounting block. “You look after me girl” I told her as we stepped up to the block. She seemed to understand and stood so very still as I swung my leg over. She usually gets a bit quick on the take off before I’m quite on, but not today. She was so quiet and good as gold.
We started off at a walk as I got comfortable and feeling solid in the saddle. We took it up to a trot and I felt the smile on my face as the familiar happy feeling of riding – just me and my horse – came flooding back. We’re so doing this! Yes – I’m definitely back!
I was floating on cloud nine as I untacked her after our ride. I lavished praise on her for being so good and so careful for my first solo. I thanked her for the great ride, feeling genuinely grateful to her. I was putting my tack in my locker when Mackenzie came in. “Did you ride?” She asked, knowing I’ve been trying to work up to it.
“I did!” I returned grinning ear to ear absolutely elated with my little triumph. Mackenzie handed me a cold one which I eagerly cracked open and and lifted to cheers with her in celebration. It’s so great to be where others, especially those with so much knowledge and experience, will celebrate my little victories. I just get so excited…
It was a very good day!