I know, my titles are overly enthusiastic lately. Sorry to all you normal people who are annoyed by over-the-top happiness (I would usually be in your group), but it's been a really great week in so many equine ways.
Friday, I went to pilates in the morning. Ouch. Love what a good workout it is and how it helps me be a more informed rider, but it's hard. Then, Izzy and I went out on the track to accomplish two objectives:
1) Ride outside the arena
2) Work on cardiac fitness
Ever since my last jump school this week, I just seem to be riding a wave of confidence. It's fun how overcoming one fear (jumping) helps me work towards overcoming others, like riding outside the arena.
We had a great ride on the track. I had all kinds of excuses why I didn't need to go there--after all, there were irritating roofers working and it might spook Izzy.
Then I pulled up my big girl panties, rode over the scary bridge, and off we went. All told, we trotted 4 miles and cantered 2. My body is absolutely killing me today, but I was still riding on the high of conquering the scary roofers.
Soooo.... I went out, pulled out the western tack, and then wondered if my sore lil' body could heave that massive saddle up on my horse.
Fortunately, the answer was yes.
I specifically wanted the western tack because we were going on a mission. That's right folks--we were riding out into the hayfield ALONE.
It took a while to get Izzy to cross the bridge, but I was way too sore to get off and lead her over it. Then we made one walking lap around the track, and headed into the hay field. I really should have taken a picture--it's ready to cut, I think. Most of it is belly deep on her, but there's a narrow rut at the side that is a little shallower.
We rode down that until she got edgy, then back to the track and take a lap, then back out into the field. It took a second lap around the track (walking) but all of a sudden, we both started to enjoy it. She watched the birds and distant cars and listened to noises. I loosened my death grip on the saddle horn as we walked briskly to the end of the field. Once we got to my target spot, we stopped, had a look around, Izzy grabbed a few bites to eat, and we marched back.
Funny thing: her biggest spook the whole time was back in the barn area at a horse in the indoor. What a goof!
Brave cowboy horse.
Again, at the root of this problem is me. I started riding at age 9 and didn't go on a proper trail ride until I was 19. Not making that up. So, when problems come up in the arena, I do have some experience to drawn on and a reserve of confidence. It's just that once I'm outside those walls, I have nothing.
Good thing she's so freaking awesome.