It took a monumental effort on my part, but I refrained from jumping Luc this week. Instead, I continued my streak of doing small amounts of work without stirrups. And I added in some more two-point work. It sucked. It really, really sucked. Not my position, that was at least halfway decent, but the actual act of working my muscles like that. They were screaming at me after only a few minutes. Oh who am I kidding, they were screaming after seconds. It was a swift and brutal reminder that what I’m hoping to accomplish – returning to riding – is going to take concentrated effort, hard work and enough heart to push through the tough times. Thankfully I have a great support team behind me and an amazing horse under me.
Luc’s greatness was emphasized this week by a few separate events. The first was the inaugural bath of the summer, and let’s face it, Luc being gray means there will be a lot more in the coming months.
With the weather finally warm enough, it was time to take off a winter’s worth of grime. Unfortunately, Luc historically has not been so fond of bath time. In fact, in previous years, it has proven to be a challenge to even get him near the hose. Being the too-smart-for-his-own-good variety that he is, he also figured out that stepping on it means the water can’t reach him.
This year he seems to have come to terms with the fact that the hose, and the water spraying out of it, are not out to eat him. He stood calmly for most of his bath, with the worst thing he did being walking in a slow circle trying to get away from the water. At the end of the bath it was hard to tell who was wetter, Jen or Luc, but since he had gone from a wannabe bay to nearly sparkling white, we’re counting it as a win. He even graciously waited until we walked away after putting him in the field before rolling.
The day after my ride I came out to see Jen put Luc through his paces and found out just how amazing Luc really is. He’s usually quite happy to cart me around and put up with my rookie mistakes (and I do make A LOT), but that day I got to see his wild side, and how he’s so much more cautious and careful with me than he is with a more advanced and fit rider. Jen gave him a good workout (he actually does more than shuffle for her) and finished their ride with a little bit of jumping. If you recall, I jumped Luc for the first (mine, not his) last week and he barely did more than step over it. With Jen he soared over the fences, putting in actual effort, and clearly enjoying himself. What a showoff!
He got more and more into things with each fence, even letting out a few squeals of joy and bolting in excitement. Jen had to use a few half halts to keep him in check. It was incredible to see the two of them working together and having such a good time. It gave me something else to work towards. My goal by the end of the summer is to jump – or at least step over – an entire course, even if the fences are only a foot high.
What happened after the ride was just as amazing. Luc gave pony rides to some of our family visiting from Winnipeg, including someone who had never been on a horse before. He stood patiently while each of them took a turn getting on, and then walked calmly while Jen led them around the arena. He gave them each a nicker when they got off. I haven’t got a nicker in weeks. Maybe I should have Jen start leading me around so I can get back in his good graces!