Thank you everyone for all of your kind words about Bridget. It means a lot to me and I know that so many of you can truly empathize. However, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have had Bridget even though I wish our time together had been longer. Riding her was truly a privilege, and just being around her was a gift. I wish our riding years had been longer, and I wish her retirement had been longer as well. However she had six great years of doing whatever she wanted to do, whenever she wanted to do it, and I am glad I was able to give her that time.
The horses have certainly put a smile on my face many times this week though. Today I had my best ride ever on Sky. She's been getting stronger and has started to develop a topline, and our under saddle work is reflecting that. Today she was truly on the bit, back lifted, pushing from behind, and soft through the bridle both at the trot and the canter. We still can't keep it together all of the time yet, and I do think a lot of that is just strength and conditioning, but she is definitely getting the concepts. I was able to sit her trot well for the first time today. It can often feel like sitting on a jackhammer, but with her back lifted and round I had a much better place to sit and it was great. The biggest bonus was that we were able to accomplish this for a good bit of our canter work as well. Our transitions still leave a lot to be desired but they keep getting better. Overall I am thrilled.
Bonnie has also been on a roll lately. I realized today that our good days are superb now, and our 'bad' days are nothing like they used to be. Consistent riding is still a key component of success with Bonnie and I still struggle with that at times, running a farm is both time consuming and physically tiring. As I cantered around on her today she gave me one of those canters where you would head to a 5' oxer with all of the confidence in the world. This horse has so much talent and it is a nice feeling when I manage to tap into even a little bit of it. When I look back at where we were in April and compare to where we are today I realize how far she has come. I still struggle with the concept that she is the right horse that arrived at the wrong time in my life, but we keep managing to make progress in spite of my shortcomings. (For more about Bonnie you can read this post.)
Of course nothing is more fun than watching happy horses. Aside from the Big Boys and their constant antics it is hard to capture the horses doing anything more interesting than grazing. I see all of the horses playing and romping from time to time, but rarely do I have my camera and my hands free at these times. Today I saw some of the horses running for no other reason than it was fun and they felt good. The best part was I had my camera!
In order of appearance Asterik (Holsteiner), Trillion (Dutch Warmblood) and Winston (Thoroughbred) running along. Next is Lightening (Arabian) who comes running along on the other side of the fence to check out the excitement. Then Sebastian (Connemara/Irish Draught) and Faune (Selle Francais) come galloping along, with O'Reilly (Irish) accompanying them on the other side of the fence.
Leo, Apollo, Homer, Ivan and Levendi grazing with Elfin peeking out from the shed
Apparently Chance finds Thomas to be very boring Traveller in the front watching me take his picture. Behind him Norman, Sky, Bonnie and Sparky the donkey are oblivious to my presence.
Lily was only about half way awake when I took her picture
Homer strolling through the pasture
Baby coming on the run followed by Levendi and Homer
Tony and Levendi coming over in hopes of a treat
MyLight followed by Buffy and Lily
Trigger, Homer and Leo grazing
Thomas and Chance
It is rare to see Ogie be this affectionate with another horse; here he is snuggled up to B-Rad while he dozed
Asterik and Trillion