Happiness is a good ride.

This is John (not me riding!)

I was in Colorado for the last 10 days. We drove with two toddlers about 1200 miles. Driving through Oklahoma and Texas was fun for me; I saw lots of cattle and horse ranches and the landscape was totally different from Atlanta. Kind of made me want to spend the week at a dude ranch! I didn’t ride in Colorado. I didn’t want to spend money to ride somebody else’s horse on a trail.

The day after I got home I did an early morning ride with Baron. We just jumped a crossrail in both directions. It was actually a really good ride though because I stuck my leg way back until it felt like my foot was behind me. WOW. What a difference that made! I finally felt like I was posting with the motion instead of behind it. It was only a difference of a couple inches, but it changed my position and center of balance entirely. Baron is getting the hang of jumping. I think he likes it. He pricks his ears and gives a good effort even over the little x’s.

In sadder news, Baron has something funky going on in his hindquarters.  I can’t ride him until he gets adjusted again. Just when we were starting to build momentum, we get a setback, but oh well- that’s horses. I’ve been riding John while Baron’s laid up. John is a beautiful dapple grey who is a great ride as long as I’m paying attention!

This morning I rode John over crossrails and I really had to keep my lower leg on him all the way to the jump or he would refuse. Any hesitation on my part and he runs out or stops dead in his tracks. He’s a good teacher for me because he makes me concentrate on my lower leg. I have to keep it not only still, but also pressed to his side. If I lean too far forward with my upper body, he refuses, which is good for me because it forces me to keep my shoulders back and chest up.

I love riding “imperfect” horses, or horses with quirks. I have to really RIDE, not just sit there and be a passenger while the perfectly trained school horse carries me around. I’m thankful for the opportunity to ride different horses. I love Baron and he’s my favorite, but I love the experience I gain from riding other horses as well. I think as we ride we develop a “toolbox” of skills that we can use. Every new horse has its own quirks, personality, and preferences and each one adds something new to my toolbox. John is teaching me to be confident when I approach a jump, to keep my lower leg on and my chest up.

We ended our ride today with a nice long canter. It was exhilirating and totally worth getting out of bed for!

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