Last week, Jay and I went on a guided trail ride up in Estes as a "confidence building" ride. Jay hadn't been on a horse since Pearl bucked him off in May. It was his idea to go ride a dead-broke horse, and it was an excellent idea. The horse he was assigned was perfect for him - easy-going, calm, and willing. My assigned horse, on the other hand, was head-strong and bitchy. She had a bad habit of cocking an ear back at Jay's horse, then spinning 1/4 turn to challenge his horse. What I learned from my confidence-building ride is that my Skeeter has never behaved that way and is much easier to ride than that mare was.
For a while now, we've been saying, "we have to get up and ride". The stars aligned on Saturday and the three of us (Jay, L.E., and I) were all in the same place at the same time, and our neighbor's arena was open.
With the trail ride under our belts, and some solid rides on all the horses by Annie, we were ready! Off we went to the neighbor's arena.
It was truly a monumental day - I know how hard it was for me to climb up on Skeeter after being bucked off of Pearl, and I have years of riding under my belt. Watching Jay make two big achievements in one moment seriously choked me up.
Achievement #1: first time on Copper since riding in Jessica's round pen in February/March. No support person on the ground, no trainer talking him through, and in a much larger space than the round pen.
Achievement #2: first time up since getting bucked off. For an experienced horse person, stepping back into the saddle the first time is hard - for a green rider, it's a make-it-or-break-it moment.
L.E. rode Pearl beautifully (I took pictures, but they were all back-lit and didn't turn out) - she can really make Pearl glide. All that classical riding training from her past is very apparent. While the two of them were prancing around the arena looking all fancy, Jay and I were happy to work at a walk. Jay's goal had been to just get up and sit on Copper, but took it a bit further and rode him for fifteen minutes or so. Skeeter and I worked on walking over things; walking into a "box" and turning around in the confines of said box; backing through and over things; figure-eights around jump standards; just "stuff" to keep us both interested.
It was amazing to get to ride with my hubby and L.E. and I look forward to doing more of it. In fact, I'm so thrilled with how Pearl is going with L.E., that I think she's ready for Autobot to ride. Pearl's not quite "kid" ready, but I think Autobot can handle her in the arena.
|Proud Mommy moment - Skeeter stood where I parked her.|
|Jay and Copper getting ready|
|Skeeter offering her emotional support to Jay. (Or she might have been sleeping.)|
|Checking out Copper's reaction to Jay's saddle|
|This, right here, is everything. First time up on Copper since March.|
|Seriously, such an important step for both of them.|
|And off they go!|
|Look! My hubby is riding *his* horse!|
|Copper took such good care of Jay.|
|Just because I think she's pretty.|
|We had to re-create this picture because I missed the first, but it's still heartfelt|
|The three of us in the same place, at the same time, on the 3 Mustangeers :)|