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This morning started off cold and cloudy, but by the time I finished up at work, there was bright sunshine, the wind had fallen out to nothing and temps were on the rise. Hope that doesn't seem like bragging - I know that many of my blogging friends are in the midst of or getting ready for some epic winter weather. Please stay safe!
I headed up to the barn, feeling not a little bit conflicted about the decision. Basically, there is a ton of work I really need to be doing... my bedroom is halfway rearranged (as in can't use the bed until arrangement is finished), my studio is an absolute explosion of paperwork, taxes are on the horizon (see explosion of paperwork in studio)... don't even mention moving the manure pile at the farmette, which has been on my list of to do's for months. So - I went riding instead. ;)
Val was out cold in a sunny spot when I arrived, bottom lip dangling down in the dirt. (so darn cute!) I did a few chores while he took his time waking up, mostly because I was thinking about a recent post from Billie at camera obscura - "wise words for living and working with horses". She discussed how (patiently) engaging with your horse is more respectful, kinder, and will help to develop the trusting relationship we all want with our horses. She really made me think about all the times I've come to the barn preoccupied, in a bit of a hurry, probably rushing Val around so I could keep up with my schedule. Pretty rude when you think about it. After a lingering grooming in the warm sunshine, we tacked up and were off.
Today's ride was well worth putting off obligations for! While we definitely need work in the creating energy (at the walk) department - everything else was super. Zero steering issues, no scary spots in the arena, had some decent re-balancing half halts and Val was reaching into the contact. Trot work was the best yet. I barely used my dressage whip. My posture felt relaxed and natural. Our extensive bareback work has really helped my seat and leg, so I think I'm aiding more effectively. My trainer often reminds me that when I get it right, so will my horse. :)
Our progress lately has left me with the feeling that I'm going to wake up soon and realize I was just dreaming... I know intellectually that we're moving forward because we're working hard and focusing, but I guess the improvement in my confidence is hard for me to process. It feels so good. My trainer also often reminds me that riding isn't that hard - once you get the basics down, everything else is pretty easy... that my struggles have been of my own making... that I need to stay out of my own way. I believe this is finally starting to happen - I'm psyched.
And I absolutely cannot wait until my "real" arena with good footing and much more room is ready, because we're going to take off when we have the proper space that will allow us to do some sustained trot work and get fit. (Which means I really do need to attend to my to do list. Once my studio is ready I can get to my jewelry work which will help me pay for the new arena...)
Enter the sanctuary of the horse ever with honor and respect. Erik Herbermann