Here there be dragons...

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

I'm back! At least in moderation ;)

A little over a year after my last *amazing* jump school on Lexi, I am finally allowed to ride again.  Of course I no longer have a horse, or money to support a new horse, or any degree of fitness...   But that's mere details ;)   Fortunately I do still have some ability to ride, rusty though it may be, and there are generally horses who need to be ridden, so...

I hopped on the cutest little pony ;)   And by cutest little pony I mean GINORMOUS percheron.   Qwyn and Lexi lived together for a while -- and Qwyn made Lexi look small.   Those of you who have seen how Lexi made me look like a child, can imagine the picture I must've made on Qwyn ;)   hahaha  And keep in mind, Zel, at just under 16hh and super compact, was about the right size for me.

It wasn't an exciting ride, nor a dramatic ride.  Qwyn might actually be the calmest horse I've ridden since I was a child.  What it was, was calm and effective.  In about half an hour we had noticeable, quantifiable, improvement.    If you'd asked me what I missed about not riding, there was quite the list...   Sunset  hacks to de-stress after work; jumping that little bit higher; nailing the impossible turn; galloping XC; upgrading -- any level can be exciting if you haven't done it on that horse before; crazy-complex gymnastics; nailing that one perfect stride of self-carriage; the satisfaction that comes from increasing that stride to an entire dressage test; goofing around bareback; hanging out in the field while my horse grazes on clovers; the satisfaction derived from taking a completely filthy horse and turning it into something that could be seen in public; the nicker when you walk in the barn first thing in the morning; and the list goes on...   What I probably wouldn't have thought of and what became very clear today is how happy it made me and how much satisfaction I got from being able to get on a horse and create improvement.  Qwyn is not the most athletic horse, but she is one of the most willing I've sat on.  I teach two of her riders on a regular basis, so I have some idea of her background and the things they struggle with.   It was only a walk-trot ride, but by the end I had significantly more softness and connection than I'd had at the beginning, a better rhythm, and smooth transitions.  As well as a very good idea of what needs work ;)   I was pretty pleased with all that for one ride :)   I could feel she was starting to get tired so we went on a hack at that point.

I was also very impressed out hacking -- I remember when I started having her in lessons, she had a strong routing habit; I figured for sure she'd be a bit of a nightmare to hack through shoulder-high grass.  But clearly she's had some good hacking training because she was a complete lady out there.   So of course I dismounted before we got back and let her graze a bit in the yummy clovers ;)

And now I very much want to do it again with feeling ;)   Although since a fun bouncy little TB project is not in the budget any time soon, I think it'll be a case of improving my student's horses where they want help and catch riding from time to time.  But it's still way better than "thou shalt not ride".   And what a gorgeous day to start with.  Huge thanks to Kelly for lending me her lovely mare for my first ride in over a year!