Bad weather on the horizon (what the heck else is new) so Val and I rode at lunchtime today. He was napping when I arrived, but roused and made himself available for grooming + hay in the run-in. It must feel terrific to get groomed when you have all kinds of extra hair hanging around, falling out, getting matted up under your tack. And having lunch served at the same time - seems decadent, in a Roman empire kind of way. Dogs have owners, horses have servants as they say ;)
Trot, trot, trot! Posting, two point, sitting, posting without stirrups, loose rein - it was a trot + half halt fest. Val felt it was entirely too warm to expect that much exertion, but we persevered. Worked more on driving and increasing the contact, but still allowing with my hands. This resulted in some reaching, slight but (I'm pretty sure) it was there ;) Also pretty sure I was not always releasing my hands / giving forward in my half halts, or not quickly enough. Whenever I caught myself today I followed up a few rounds on the buckle or very loose rein. In fact, I think blocking with my hands pervaded my ride, as Val offered the rein back (when I hadn't asked for it) quite a few times. Blocking with my hands + off of my seat. Sorry Val! Luckily he doesn't hold grudges :)
I dismounted and prepared to undress Val when it occurred to me - it's warm out, Val is tired from hard work, quiet around the barn... hello - perfect time for a mini trail ride. We walked out to the small arena, mounted, did some circles there and then explored the property. Calmly. Nonchalantly. Pleasantly. Without Val's neck all tight and his head way up in the air on the lookout for imminent danger. Perfect :)
It's not that I think Val is some sort of super hot tb - he most certainly isn't. He can do a pretty good impersonation under the right circumstances though, such as our last out of the arena foray - the super train wreck trail ride. He had a serious case of drama llama going on, and bolted out the front gate almost unseating me... and this was before the ride even started.
I know that Val wasn't thinking of that today. I know it's up to me to forget about it. Every uneventful ride we have brings me another step closer to letting go... another step closer to the freedom of trail riding. *smile*