I’m over the moon as I write this blog. I’ve just finished what has to be the best ride I’ve had since getting back in the saddle. I couldn’t be happier with Luc, and amazingly, I couldn’t be prouder of myself. Things started off with a failed attempt at a photoshoot with Luc, as is often the case when I try to get him to stand for photos.
He’s recently been moved out into the big grass pasture, and it makes such a stunning backdrop for photos. If only he would cooperate. He was fine when his owner, my sister Jen, was holding him, but the lead line doesn’t look great in the photos. So we decided to unclip it. Mistake! About two second later he decided he’d had enough of being a model for the day and walked off. Not at his usual sauntering pace, but a clip that meant I’d have to run to keep up with him.
I assumed he was heading back to his friends, who were now in a different part of the field. Nope, instead he made a beeline back towards the entrance of his field, even breaking into a trot when he made it out of the wooded area. Maybe he was just that eager to go for a ride!
Okay, so that probably wasn’t it. He likes to stand at the gate to his field because it’s next to the field with all the mares, and he does like his girls. But I can always dream right?
Once he was all tacked up and ready to go I took him outside. The sand ring was a little dusty so I decided to ride in the grass derby field for the first time this season. Luc has already been out there several times with my sister, so I was fairly confident it wouldn’t be a disaster.
I walked him over to a nearby picnic table to mount, and should have paid more attention to the fact the barn owners had moved it ever so slightly. I was about halfway over and into the saddle by the time I realized we were right next to overhanging branches. If Luc had taken even a single step I would have been smacked in the face by a low hanging bough and my ride would have been over before it even began.
Thankfully Luc decided to stay still for me today, and I learned a valuable lesson about paying more attention to my surroundings. We walked over to the ring and got started warming up. Now there was one new thing in the field since the last time Luc was ridden in it. A pile of wooden fence posts, similar to the ones in his field. Jen told me not to worry about it, Luc wouldn’t care. She lied. Big time! Luc was completely fixated on it, stalling about 10 strides away from it, throwing his head in the air and freezing. I urged him forward and we eventually made it past the pile. Although it did continue to be a problem for the entire ride, with Luc randomly choosing to spook and scoot away from it at times. But not every time mind you, that would have made it too easy to predict.
By this point you may be wondering why I’m calling this the best ride since I’ve been back in the saddle. It’s because I jumped all of the cross country jumps in the field. Last summer I was only brave enough to jump the log, not the roll top or the wooden a-frame or even the hanging log. I have to admit that the butterflies were swarming when I started jumping, especially after heading down to the a-frame for the first time. I’ve been very intimidated by it since last year when it went up. It was the last of the fences I jumped, and just like with all the other ones of the day, Luc jumped it without hesitation. I had nothing to worry about.
I was starting to feel a lot like my old self again after conquering that fear, so I decided after landing just to jump the little log as part of a long bending line, then a few of the other jumps, and the next thing I knew I’d spontaneously put together an entire little course for myself. Another milestone for me since taking up the reins again.
It’s the first time I’ve had that old spirit back when riding, and I hope it continues! I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful horse to ride, and to have an amazing sister who lets me ride him, supports me when I need it, and pushes me just enough when I’m scared. Thanks Jen, I couldn’t have done this without you!