Luc and I have a relaxing ride in the arena.

Luc and I have a relaxing ride in the arena.

That was my motto this week. After last week’s wild bareback ride, this week I was determined to have a relaxing and enjoyable time. Thankfully, Luc seemed to agree. I had been a bit hesitant when Jen, Luc’s owner and my sister, told me he had been a bit on the crazy side the day before, but it seems we were riding different horses.

After bringing Luc in from the snowy, cold outdoors, it was time to tack him up and get ready for our ride. Mostly for me what that entails is watching Jen groom Luc, while I keep him occupied. We cuddle and nuzzle and then he pats me down from head to toe just to make sure I don’t have any treats hidden anywhere. Then we start again. It’s a great routine.

Once he was saddled and bridled, I brought him into the arena. We did our usual walk around the ring a few times in each direction and then it was time for me to get on. Remarkably, he stood completely still, even when it took me a few tries to get my right foot in the stirrup. Once both feet were secure, he felt the need to just double check, trying to bite one toe, and then reaching around to do the same on the other side.

With that out of the way, it was time to get down to work. I walked him around the arena a few more times in each direction before picking up a trot. He seemed a bit stiff. Not off, not sore, just stiff. Mostly through his neck – the place where Jen discovered a bit of a muscle knot while she was grooming him.

I continued to make him work, but instead of working on anything too strenuous, we worked on stretching and trying to loosen him up. Some circles, leg yields, and a forward trot on a loose rein all worked. He eased out of his stiffness and was calm, relaxed, and just a joy to ride.

By some miracle, all Jen and my hard work over the past few months on his canter seemed to pay off this ride as well. He gave me a relaxed canter, stretching through his back and keeping his ears nice and far away from my nose. The first lap around the ring was a little on the slow side – the incredibly small pony in the ring was taking bigger strides than us!

Pushing him forward, after a bit of resistance, he gave in and actually started cantering with a larger stride. It was glorious. I just hope this new found relaxed and round canter is here to stay!

While we didn’t work on anything too strenuous for either of us, it was an immensely enjoyable ride. Because sometimes just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company is the best kind of time to spend together.