Since we got back from the endurance ride, Cibolo and I have been out on two trail rides around here. We've trotted and cantered and I feel so different, it's like I'm someone else.
Even my friend, TR, said "Who is THIS?" as I cantered ahead of them on our trail ride around the lake. I felt so good, like I wasn't a big ol' drag to hang out with any more.
Maybe I'm not someone else. Maybe it's me and I've just sloughed off that old skin, the one that was filled with anxiety and trepidation, and the woman underneath is simply no longer worried about this horse.
Or maybe I found this girl again:
Cibolo seems much more in tune with me. He doesn't nose out anymore, now that my hands are staying centered as I trot. When he resists, we work through it, but I don't worry. He's not going to blow. At worst, he's going to jig, ask to get some energy out. And I can do that now. And he listens.
I feel like we're a team.
Before we went out I was working on bitting.
I like a horse to take a bit willingly. Literally open their mouth and say "sure". Kathleen suggested messing with the upper lip to get a horse to bit, instead of the tongue feathering. Cibolo doesn't fight the bit really, but he goes in phases of taking it. Lately I've been able to get him to drop his head for the reins.
Today, he took the bit in his mouth willingly after just a moment. Nice.
I'd like to try bitless as Sydney does, I think he's a good horse for it. He just doesn't like the bit all that much.
But I'll need to sell some writing first.
We got some energy out cantering up a hill this morning, then we walked and trotted through neighborhood trails. There are streams, roads, houses, dogs that charge fences, metal lying around sheds, cedars that need trimming, good places for trotting and cantering, slick rocks you have to slow down on. Great training ground for horses. Lots of hills, narrow trails too.
We all jumped at the dog (he startled all of us), but other than that, there was nothing more than an ear swish.
There are also places on this trail where you are glad you wear your helmet because all of a sudden a low branch whacks you on the head when your horse decides he needs to hop step over a rock on a hill and you weren't quite low enough.
Not a hard thwack, but a nice, solid reminder.
I wish I had taken pictures, but I don't have a good carrying system right now. I hope to order one soon, I'm thinking of this one (click on it if you want to see it attached to a western saddle):
Since the intro endurance ride I've wanted to find something that doesn't bounce all over the place when you're trotting. And it would be nice to have my camera actually with me for a change.
We also did trailer loading at the end of the ride, but I didn't have the time to finish, really. We just worked for 10 minutes. It was good, he went in and stood, and I could see him getting worried. We stood there for a moment and let it go past. While I didn't have time to push him in further to get the butt bar on, we ended on a good note. It's coming along and I'm not in a hurry.
I think I "get it" now. Let's hope I can keep it.
Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post, it's wonderful to get support for taking the long way and not the expediate way. I always feel like I'm surrounded by goal oriented folks who just want me to "get it done already."
Like Geri the Cleaner says on Toy Story 2:
Ya can't rush art.