Has it really been since mid-November that I’ve ridden? I believe it . . . We took the trail ride I referred to in the last post. Luna was absolutely awesome. It was probably a two hour ride, with a bit of a crazy (in a good way) friend who likes to RUN so we had a few gallops, around narrow, twisty woods trails, etc. I can write more on this another time. Luna took two water crossings without hesitation, waded in a shallow creek, just took everything in stride–oh, including riding down a two-lane road and not even batting an ear as cars passed us either direction.
Well, I think there was one more arena ride in there somewhere, also good. Then I probably shifted my attention to my half marathon race on Dec 7th. I ran that race with a case of bronchitis . . . thus got walking pneumonia (!) and have been out of riding commission ever since.
BUT! I have joined the Northwood Farms2015 Horsemanship Challenge, with Luna, and today was day 1! I am so excited about this, especially after getting our first ride of the challenge in today. We commit to 30 rides and 40 horsemanship hours in 12 weeks.
Thanks to mutual friends, today I joined a group of 7 ladies and their horsies all playing at Charlie and Tina’s barn in Eagle Creek, OR. It’s a smaller arena, but this wonderful group of riders takes everything in stride (ha! no pun intended!) and nobody was picky about anyone else’s horsemanship. Which was good for me, because my sweet OTTB acted like she’d returned to the saddling paddock prior to race time. I’m sure it was her first experience in an arena with other horses–so all things considered I am so proud of how great we did! Luna was pretty wild, and unexpected to me, quite ornery about other horses coming close to her (ears pinned! squealy kick!). But we rode through it, and I reminded myself every now and then to REALLY relax my seat, and we were able to get to several short but lovely stretches of quiet walking. After a few such accomplishments, we were at another halt and rest, with me petting her neck and telling her how good she was, when she took a deep, relaxed breath, and at that point I jumped off. She had already worked up quite a sweat by this time, and I wanted to stop while we were way ahead.
I can’t wait to see how these 12 weeks pan out! My goal is quiet WTC transitions during a similar group ride at the end of the Challenge. That would be a huge accomplishment and I would be so proud of how very far she had come.
She’s a super-sweet angel horse, regardless, and I’m so grateful for the chance to explore with her and also get to know some like-minded horse-folk.