Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Finding willpower

So I was reading this article on neuroscience (which, despite having no science background, I'm fascinated by :) and it was discussing ways to train certain traits that have at times been considered inherently part of you - essentially unchangeable as an adult. The unchangeable idea seems to have been shot down by just about everybody (yeah!) but this particular one struck me as a rather fallible argument.

They suggested that to improve willpower, say before going on a diet, you should brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand for two weeks. They ran tests, and the people who did that were far more successful in whatever they needed their willpower for than those who didn't. So I think ok, well I'm sure I can use more willpower (funny I can hear my mother scoffing as I write this), why not give it a try?

So what I've discovered, one week in, is A - it's a lot harder than you'd think - give it a try! But far more importantly B - it's not training willpower, it's that only those who already *have* willpower are going to last the two weeks. Maybe it enhances what's already there? That I don't know. But honestly, it's a little task that you do (or at least I do :) only when I'm tired -- first thing in the am after getting up and last thing at night when I go to sleep. This is when I'm *least* likely to want to take 3x as long and concentration required for a task I can do literally as I'm falling asleep just by switching hands. Now 1 week in it's now taking me only twice as long *sigh* but I'm still not proficient.

Not that I particularly care, to be quite honest. I'll do the two weeks because I decided to do the two weeks, but whether or not it helps anything? hahaha we'll see. I'm still allegedly running 15k in, as my email reminded me today, less than a month. Could use some willpower for that for sure :)

It's amazing the things you learn when you let your horse teach...

Yeah so decided since we had reasonable temps today I should actually *ride* my horse (as opposed to hack around the xc course having fun pretending to be productive :). Now my number one riding concern with this mare is my inability to rate her gaits. Sometimes I can, but not reliably enough to safely compete her. So I thought we'd test a bit and get at least a baseline for where we are, so that as I school it I can see whether or not we're improving.

Ok so I set two poles on the ground at 50'. Zero height, literally poles on the ground. Now the gymnastics text book will tell you this should be an easy 5, and you should be able to collect to 6, or push for the 4. No problem right? With most of the zippy little horses I like to ride I'd be able to get anywhere from 4-8. So thought I'd see what I ended up with with Athena.

Usually I just let them do their thing the first round to see what we've got, but for some reason I decided to ride it from the beginning and picked the middle ground of 5 for a starting place. And she did it perfectly. The problem? It was the most collected canter I've ever managed on her *sigh*. Let her do it at her pace (sleepy cause this was nearing the end of our ride) and it was an easy 4. Put my leg on a little and cleared the 50' in 3 strides. hahaha might've taken me a lap and a half after that to bring her back again, which we did - next round in 5, but even still...

So it turns out that it's not that I can't actually rate this horse, it's that her stride length is so insanely much longer than I'm used to that I'm misjudging everything. For the non horse people out there -- basically I'm used to horses with gears 2-5, this one has 4-6! So we'll have to spend some time installing the lower gears, cause much as they're not a ton of fun they are *really* useful sometimes! hahaha but baseline has at least been established and now I have a better understanding of what our issue truly is. And thankfully a lot of it will get better as she gets stronger -- she simply doesn't have the strength to sit and tuck her hind end under her right now.

Now off to ride Lis who *only* has gear 4 and work on putting in 3 and 5... :)

The little things in life...

There is very little in this world that I would rate more highly on the 'simple pleasures' list than a perfect, star-lit, summer's night. 25ish degrees with a warm gentle breeze blowing. Stars brilliant against a black sky. Or alternately a harvest moon -- either option works for me :)

Got home around 10:30 tonight, but it was just that kind of night and I sooo wasn't ready to come inside yet. So decided to go for a run (remember that 15k idea -- yeah it's creeping up awfully fast and running all of about once a week - if that! - isn't really getting me anywhere :) It's been legitimately too hot to run during the days and most evenings I'm rather zonked by the time I get home, but today I was feeling good so away I went.

Now you have to understand - I'm a night person. I have always *been* a night person. If the day never started before about 10am and regularly went till 2, I'd be thrilled. Except I'd stay up late and even 10 would seem too early *g* The issue is, with this whole "adult" thing, no matter how late I'm up I still have to get up in the am. Boooo. And when I exercise, I'm usually rather spun (hence writing at midnight -- no sleep for a while yet!) Which makes the next morning brutal. But I'll worry about that tomorrow.

So I enjoy night. And I usually get an energy burst around 10 or 10:30 in the evening. And today I took advantage of it. Now running at night I learned a few things...

There are fewer people out (can't imagine why! :) but they ones that are are *much* friendlier. When I run that same route during the day, everybody I meet is in their own little bubble, bitterly trying to get some exercise in before their real day starts. Running at night, I met very few people, but every one of them smiled and at least said hi.

I have a vivid imagination. It's made more so by nightfall. This can be good or not >;-P hahhaha I swear I had half a dozen stories half written by the time I was finished my run; the only issue is I can't run and write at the same time, so they're now all lost. I know better than to try and reclaim them -- that never works. This vivid imagination though did at least keep me safely in reasonably well lit areas. Much as I wanted to run through the forest, the grown-up side of me said that would be a really dumb idea. And for once I listened to her.

Running on well paved streets requires FAR less effort than dirt roads. I could run faster and easier and was significantly less tired. I think that's the first run I've done where my cardio gave out before my muscles.

And this was due to lack of watch. Or not so much lack of watch as inability to read said watch in the dark. hahaha so instead of carefully rating my pace and x mins "running" (read carefully contained jog) x mins walking. It was more of run as hard and as fast as you can just for the sheer power of it and don't stop till you have to. I realize this is not the ideal training schedule, but it was a lot more fun *g* Well till I had to stop - a pretty brutal minute or two there, but I recovered and repeated the game; stopping just *slightly* before brutal on consecutive occasions.

Was the first run that I would say came anywhere close to resembling "fun" -- although I suspect a nice quiet walk through the same evening would've had the same results *g* But we'll ignore that little detail :)

And on a completely different note -- Athena got on the trailer after only about 20 mins today with no kicking, striking, or drama. Sweet. We're getting there.

Today = so much fun.

Awesome day today! Kids cleaned up at the hunter show today. I was soooooo impressed. Fully story on GRS blog.

Line of the night, completely unrelated to the horse show, "sometimes a little chivalry has to take precedence over feminism." hahaha Love it! Those who should know the story behind that, already do. Those who don't, can appreciate the line in its own right :)

Happy Birthday to me!!!

hahaha GREAT day today. Lesson on Athena got some amazing flat work, followed by CAKE for breakfast!!! Hahaha Hailey made it for me and it had a horse on it :) Believe it or not, my first cake *ever* with a horse on it :) Little things in life...

She then gave me the birthday gift of time :) As in did all the chores for me so I could have the day off. A lovely afternoon nap followed by dinner and a movie with friends. A simple evening, but I really enjoyed it.

One more thing off the list :)

Soooo today has been *quite* the day. See Finally post below for most of it. But THEN I came home and found a package awaiting my attention. The package was my BOOK!!! In real form!!!

It's just a proof copy. It has to be re-read and edited before it's purchasable. And admittedly even then it'll be a long way from being the next best thing. But it still made me super happy and my hands shake a bit to hold it. Have to admit, I'm pretty excited about it :) Yeah me!

Finally! My first xc outting of the year :)

(from GRS Blog)

So today was... oh my.

Well let's see -- I had a xc lesson booked for 12:00 at Grandview (about 2h away). Plan to leave at 9:30. All good. Get to the barn for 8, wonderful working student(WWS) Hailey meeting me there so between the two of us s.b. able to get everything done and be gone on time. Good plan right?

Except that I woke up this am before the alarm went off, feeling awake. Ummmm that never happens. Warning bells start flashing. Look at clock w/ heart in throat. 8:10. Frig. No idea why alarm, diligently set for 5:15 didn't deign to go off; I freely acknowledge when I do something dumb like hit snooze for an hour, but this time there was no beeping to snooze. Booo. So I basically roll into some clothes and fly out of the house, pausing only long enough to feed the critters. Great start. Frig.

Get to barn and WWS who knows morning routine *very* well by now and her groom have brought in, watered and fed appropriate horses as well as brought in her pony to take adventuring. Yes I have awesome students.

Decide stalls can wait since I'm very very late and go get the truck and trailer. You know all about the Beast. You know the next step in the story right?

No - amazingly the Beast deigned to start on the very first try! Yeah us! Hook up trailer and drive over to loading area. Touch base with L to see if she'll help me load (unrelated experienced horse woman -- if there are any issues novice people, even WWSs, cause more grief than help, and I haven't loaded Athena other than to move her in...) Np. She's around and willing. Great.

Brush ponies and pack truck. Go to load... Bella walks on. And back off again at top speed. Argh. She is the only horse I've ever known who zero issues loading but pretty serious unloading issues. And she's little enough to go *under* the bum strap. Booo. Any experience horse people dealt with this before? Loads well, then you have about 10 seconds and she throws herself backwards and out - whether tied or not. If you close the door in time has no concerns about hanging out on the trailer. Trailers just fine. But when you open the door on the other end, again she bolt backwards pretty much instantly. Interesting challenge. Have tried feeding/treating her on the trailer but she doesn't much care. It *is* getting much better -- she mostly walks off now instead of top speed. But there is no wait till you're told...

Anyways so Bella left. Alright fine, we'll get Athena on then put Bella back on after. Uh huh. Athena very quickly makes it *very* clear she wants nothing to do with this. Went and got L to come help and got WWS and supergroom out of the way and went to work. I've worked with a LOT of difficult loaders, but never seen anything like this. My lovely little black mare turned into a nightmare. All 4 legs were weapons - kicking out and rearing and striking. Always smart enough to not harm *herself* but watch out to everybody else. Behaving very much like a terrified foal except A - she's a LOT bigger and stronger and B - there was NO fear. Everything we saw was anger or just plain "NO!". Got away from us *3* times. I'm not sure I've ever lost a horse loading before, but this one THREE times. Insane. Although I admit I had a good laugh when she bolted into the indoor, started to run around the ring (which she's never been in) and then halted to call to the horse in the mirror. Made her very easy to catch since she was absolutely fascinated by it. This was NOT a fun start to the day.

Couldn't put Bella on to keep her company so tried to think of what horse *either* of us had who would both load well and STAND for who-knows-how-long without having a meltdown over the drama behind. Si loads like a saint, but would *not* tolerate that -- esp as it's another mare. Bella loads and leaves. Apollo I think would get really stressed. Jack was a maybe, but I was concerned because he's only 5 and loads like a pro -- so I *really* didn't want to risk changing that. Lissy loads well, but she didn't used to so def didn't want to give her any reason to revert. Dixie doesn't load brilliantly to begin with, is injured, AND doesn't like Athena - so I figured that was a non-option... So that left Nick. Nick loaded ok when we got him and has gotten better every time out. And he's pretty chilled about life. Ok try him. Supergroom goes out to bring him in and he veerrrryyyy slowly walks onto the trailer. One. Slow. Step. At. A. Time. Took prob 5 min to get him all the way in -- but totally just cause he was taking life at his own pace. No stopping or backing up or concern, just slow. Ok so he was on and all done up and Supergroom was given a bucket of grain to reward him with (Nick can use a few extra pounds). Nick is also the current love of Athena's life. So we had hopes that would help.

Yeah, not at all. *sigh* Was worth a try, but Athena really couldn't seem to care less about her boyfriend being in there. Same drama as before. And she's *smart* Figured out if she comes up the ramp and then turns perpendicular to the trailer and kicks violently with the hind leg closest to it, we can't even get her facing the correct direction, much less in. Cute game. Nick was a saint through all of it.

By this point starting to wonder if we're *ever* going to get her on, but know fully well that if we don't, next time will be even worse. *sigh*

The only saving grace? She's not very fit. Eventually she got tired and would just stand on the ramp. From *there* we could do something. And with a bucket of grain, a lunge line, and moving her feet one at a time, we got her on. Thank Epona. Sheesh. Almost 2h later. *sigh* And I could NOT have done it w/o L. Was not an appropriate situation for students or well-meaning bystanders. But the two of us eventually got her on.

But now it's 11:30. Remember the schedule from waaaayyyy back at the top? We're supposed to be unloading and tacking up now. And I've got two horses on the trailer -- one of whom is not supposed to be going anywhere and whose part-boarder is standing looking very confused about what her horse is doing on said trailer. And the other who is supposed to go but is exhausted, sweaty, and frazzled. Somehow trailering her for two hours, riding her xc, trying to load her again WITHOUT L or Nick, and trailering her back home again did *not* seem like a good idea.

So there's no way we can make it to GV for 12:00 at this point. Leave both horses currently in trailer ON trailer (with back up etc). Borrow a smart phone and look up the phone number for GV. Can't find it on their website. Sheesh. Ok, lateral thinking. Look up omnibus page for their show and grab contact number from there. Finally luck turns my way and I got a person rather than a machine. Sweet. But Bob was out riding. *sigh* So they go away to find him and ask if reschedule is ok, while we unload the two horses and put them away.

Arrange with L to do another trailer schooling session tomorrow. Starting to wonder if Athena just didn't want to leave -- we feed her here. But hopefully if we can get her on and off a few times over the next couple weeks -- maybe throw in some "around the block" trips -- we'll be good to go. Worked with Si and Lis... So fingers crossed.

Honestly if it hadn't been for WWS at this point I'd just cancel. The whole point of going was because I wanted to take Athena and see how she did. So really, after less than productive morning, 2h trailer battle, and NOT getting to take the horse I wanted to, I really just wanted to call it a day. But WWS really is W and it would be her first time going there and her pony was all ready and I know how excited she was about it (there's no PE fences at GV -- have to do E! Sweet. Even if many of the E fences are PE height :) And I was pretty sure she'd accept it reasonably maturely if we didn't go, which made me *less* inclined to cancel on her.

Alright so options... Sienna, Jack, Lissy. Those are the three I could reasonably pick from. And I'll admit I almost instantly disregarded Jack. I was hot, tired, and grumpy. So a ride that's almost entirely physical was not going to be a good choice. Esp after the disappointment of not taking Athena. So Sienna or Lissy. And to be quite honest, I think it took me almost 5 mins to make up my mind. Si plus sides: can jump the moon, a TON of fun xc, has been to GV several times, trailers super well, and is basically easy and fun -- a good combo for my current mood. Down side -- she's only been back in work since Monday after carving a chunk out of her hoof on a stone. Despite that she IS 100% sound and she IS at TB and we were only going to do E (well and with Si maybe some PT/T - let's be honest :) so it'd be an easy outing for her. I was in her field with her halter when I realized I should actually be professional.

You see Lissy doesn't have any of the fun upsides Si has -- her main upside is that she's *very* easy to ride. Down sides: fairly green, doesn't really carry herself well yet, half-halt only partially installed, not nearly the same athleticism over fences (I know - not many horses show that kind of athleticism; I've been spoiled, what can I say :), not terribly fit... But the simple fact is I want her to be an Entry level packer. And the only way that's going to happen is if I actually *ride* her. I've been focusing on her dressage, which is HUGELY improved lately (albeit still has a long way to go), but haven't jumped her since the Wayne Roycroft clinic, and that's the only time we've jumped since early spring... (She's jumped - intro/PE level - in lessons. But only super low/super simple. No balance or hocks under her or anything like that).

*sigh* Lissy it is. She's never going to learn if I don't teach her. And I do really adore little Lis, she's just not quite as much wow as the other two. But that's also what'll make her a good schoolie. So I brought her in and supergroom took her and got her ready for me while I answered the phone. Sure enough, good to go. Bob managed to fit us in for a 2:00 slot. Sweet!

Alright so load both horses and both just stroll on. Very very good ponies. And away we go. Brief stop to grab a muffin for breakfast (remember flying out of the house way back when?) and we're off. Fortunately made it with no traffic in good time. Parked, unloaded, tacked up all quietly - no rush. Both horses were superstars. And with an extra set of hands everything was SO much easier. WWS and Supergroom held ponies and I tacked them both up and we were good to go. Wandered down to the dressage ring (mostly to let Lissy see the blue footing; she couldn't care less). No Bob, so headed up to the jump w/u ring. Still no Bob, but we were a little early (well if you discount being 2h late!) so warmed up a bit and figured he'd find us when he was ready.

When he got there we did some stadium first. Little x with placing poles on either side, then a vert, then putting together a few random fences. The only thing Lis wasn't sure of was the first time we tried a 2-stride line. *That* we had a discussion about. But in the end she saw it my way :) General analysis of Lissy "great attitude, good form over fences, needs more gymnastics and dressage" -- hahaha always nice to have my own assessments validated! The lack of half-halt in the canter makes it *very* tricky to accurately ride a course. But we'll get there. Bella and H were pretty much superstars. A few scary long spots, but got better as they went.

Then out on XC we went. And XC is *fun* No matter what you're sitting on. And it's my FIRST outing of the year! How sad is that?!?!?! My students have done WAY more than I have so far this summer. Sheesh. And the other thing that was fun was I *actually* had to ride. I know. Imagine that. But it wasn't till I did that I realized A - the instincts are still there and they WORK and B - I haven't had to do that in a while. Cause let's be honest, for all Si's occasional drama, the jumping part is usually very straight forward. Point her at a fence, keep your rhythm, stay out of her way, and you'll go over it. Lis was more of the "ummm are you really sure? Cause we could go around. Or maybe stop of a better look." Or my personal favourite "Seriously!?!?! WHAT do you expect me to do with *that*???" <-- that'd be her first ditch. And that whole speed/balance/impulsion thing -- very hard on a horse with no hind end who's not sure about the half halt and has no idea how to carry herself; esp when the entire terrain is rolling hills! But while we had a couple interesting jumps, she was an absolute superstar. And definitely did everything on the first try. And didn't melt down when Bella galloped away from her. In fact super quiet from the moment she stepped off the trailer. So all signs still point to my future entry-level packer :)

H and Bella were superstars. Since B's a little fitter and H has ummmm zero experience they played a little more and started putting together some courses. Lis was pretty tired by then so we just supervised *g* We schooled banks, ditches, water and a couple miscellaneous, but didn't do all the inbetween random entry jumps cause I was reasonably certain she'd jump them pretty honestly and didn't want to exhaust her. The other two though did a great job jumping all the courses with very little nappiness. A decided increase in speed towards Lis than away from her, but managed to keep it under control :)

So overall, while a rocky start, an excellent end to the day :)

My next sport?

Apparently parahawking has brds of prey fly with paragliders guiding them to thermals in exchange for food.

Scary things...

Turn your sound on...

A weekend off :) Yes, really!

So the weekend was absolutely amazing! Thanks tons to Amy and Hailey -- barn teens who chose to behave as adults all weekend so I could go be a teen again *g* Thanks to them I got to head off to the cottage for my first day(S!) off since Christmas. And it was completely perfect. Spent all weekend lying on the dock or zipping around in the boat (well except for the minor excursions for ginormous amounts of ice cream of course!)

Best line of the weekend: "You look like Neapolitan ice cream." Totally out of nowhere. And my first thought was - hey, I'm not fat! hahaha - cause really, if you'd seen the size of the ice cream we'd BEEN eating, you'd understand both A - the image of ice cream is decidedly round, and B - after that much of it, I could well be round too! But no, the reference was actually to colour. Anything that's exposed while riding teaching is currently tanned very dark; the front half of me that only sees daylight when a swimsuit is involved was vibrant red (due to a HORRIBLE sunscreen FAIL. Seriously why do they even *make* sunscreen that's not waterproof???); and the back half of me was still pretty blindingly white. So admittedly still not a particularly attractive image, but at least a reasonable one *g*

Got home late Sunday night - relaxed, warm, and happy.

Another real life lesson learned in the riding ring

So a new one to add to the ongoing list of "real life lessons learned in the riding ring"...

I had a lesson this am and chose to ride Athena, who, some of you may be aware, I'm really enjoying. My coach questioned this as she's not entirely fit yet and we've been getting some good work out of Jack and Lissy so, while open to other ideas, he was expecting one of them... In response to his why I answered fairly incoherently "well, I kinda think I might love this horse," very much *not* the professional/acceptable answer I generally strive for, but what can I say? It was not even 8am and I've been averaging 4h sleep all week. Creativity was not high on the list of accessible options.

But then he surprised me -- he didn't just shrug off my rather useless answer, instead he asked why.

This gave me pause and I scrambled to find a justifiable answer and redeem my original statement. Except, there really is no logic to it. She's never going to the Olympics. She has, ummm, interpretive movement at times. She's so *not* my usual 'type' - my type being the little spinny sports car model and this type being pretty much the opposite - huge and powerful and in possession of a reasonably good brain. And she's drastically underweight and no muscle and nothing spectacular to look at, and *none* of this was helping me come up with a viable answer. And it wasn't a rhetorical question.

"Ummmm I don't know," I eventually admitted. Honest if a little embarrassed. "There's nothing really special about her. But every time I get on her, she makes me smile."

"Well," he says to me seriously, "often when an partnership clicks unexpectedly those relationships turn out to be the best ones." And that, evidently, was that. Horse was accepted into the lesson and we're good to go. But I couldn't help thinking of how that applied to so much more than the horse/rider relationship.

So that was my moment of the day... Just thought I'd share :)

And guess what??? I get a WHOLE DAY off tomorrow. hahaha thanks to Hailey and Amy for covering at the barn so I can escape to the cottage :) First day off since xmas. Have to admit I'm fairly excited about it.

I've been wearing a pedometer in lieu of a watch for the last little while -- I discovered I average about 35,000 steps/day... On non-running days (somehow an extra 8k is cheating) Somewhere I read you're supposed to aim for at *least* 10K, so I think I'm good there. Had a good laugh though today - I didn't put said pedometer on till just before I started teaching at 4:15 this aft, and by 11:00 I was at 18000. And that's withOUT any xc lessons! Just pacing around the sand ring and to and from the barn. So my goal for the weekend is *under* 18K over both days combined. hahaha wish me luck.

Why children misbehave...

shamelessly stolen from FB because it amused me:

How do you expect kids to listen to their parents when Tarzan lives half naked, Cinderella comes home at midnight, Pinocchio lies all the time, Aladdin is the king of thieves, Batman drives at 200 mph, Sleeping Beauty is lazy, and Snow White lives with 7 guys. We shouldn't be surprised when kids misbehave, they get it from their story books.

Real life magic

So I've been feeling pretty girly lately -- believe it or not, I do that occasionally *g* Watching chick flicks and reading sappy stories and crying at all of the above. And I'm quite certain it has nothing to do with the fact that my last childhood friend just had a baby or that I have another birthday rapidly approaching. Nothing at all. hahaha I do though sometimes wonder if I shouldn't at least *pretend* to be looking for Mr. Right. Although another part of me figures if he really *is* Mr. Right, he'll find me *g*

Now you have to understand, about 98% of the time I love my life the way it is. And I'm so insanely busy that while there might be room for a relationship, there is no room for the dating required to find said relationship. Well that and I hate dating. You should've seen the blog posts I *didn't* post the last time I was playing that game. Sheesh. hahaha

But at the moment, suffice to say I'm feeling a little like I'm missing out on a part of life I might regret later. However, *little* is the key word there -- if I were really stressed about it, I'd be doing something to fix it. hahaha you're not new here, sit and wait for magic to happen has rarely been my strategy (not that I'd turn it down if it worked!). But enough that I turned on a sappy movie in the background while I was writing my blog post earlier this eve. And being very aware and somewhat bemused by this action, felt the need to post it on Facebook.

But what got me, and why I'm writing this now, was the response of one of my friends. And that, I share now, with her permission (thanks Jane!).

I posted: Lauren Cude is watching Letters to Juliet for the ummmm too-manyith time. It's not even a particularly good or believable movie, but I guess it's further proof I'm a suck cause I'm still enjoying it. Again.

And my friend Jane responded: Not believable??!?!? THAT movie is basically the story of Doug and I. When we saw it, we could not believe the similarities in the story to 'us'. We have told everyone to watch that movie, because it is 'our story' - the only difference being that they lost their spouses due to death. High school sweethearts, parted ways, but never forgot each other, let go, loved others, married, had families, find each other single again many years later (35 years for us), against all odds they manage to find each other and re-connect, and the relationship just sort of picks up from there and resumes, and they (hopefully) live happily ever after.... Now, what's so hard to believe in all of that? I am living that storyline!

So yeah - apparently there *is* magic out there. So I thought I'd share for any in the same mood I am :)

Hope you had a great Canada Day :)

The little things in life...

(cross posted from GRS Blog)

Paige and Bella

"Somewhere between the rider you once were and the rider you've become is a little girl who fell in love with a horse and never looked back. Ride for her."

I met that girl again today, and it was all thanks to Athena.

I rode her around the ring for a bit as some of my students wanted to see her go. She gave a pretty clear demonstration of going correctly versus being overbent. hahaha she's not strong enough to carry herself for long, but she'll get it for a few strides and then cheat. Not bad for a learning opportunity though. "This is good. This is not." hahaha

I also let her play a bit -- she's got a fairly huge stride when she wants it and it's fun to let her go. But while she was giving me long and short as requested and her transitions are getting better, the floaty huge trot I've felt before wasn't really there. She was good and I quite enjoyed her, but no wow factor.

Ok sobeit. Can't be brilliant every day. Finish up and go for a hack. Take her out to the field and let her trot. And *there* was the WOW.

Anybody ever taught, or even watched, a very young child in their first lesson? The GIANT grin on their face at the simplest of things - a horse walking or trotting under them... If you haven't had that opportunity, I'm sorry for you... But the picture at the top will give you a pretty good idea :)

Well this horse, out in the field, brought that back for me today. I was once more that young girl thrilled by the simplest thing - a horse trotting underneath me. And I'm still grinning hours later. It was... Absolutely incredible. And something about this mare just makes me smile.