There's no question that my smooshy baby horse is a very special horse. The whole point of that "ruthlessly exclude
" ethos and enlisting particular people to help me find her was to find the creature who fits my life right now.
|the only reason she didn't buck me off is cookies|
I thought I knew what I was doing, but life is never quite what I expect. The little lady went from twice a week training backed up by 2-3 days a week with me to not anything. I dropped her out of training (because money is a thing) and quit showing up to the barn (because jobs are a thing) and since early this spring, she's been on a 1-2 toodles a month schedule.
|can you even with the cuteness level here?|
But then September came around and I a little bit got my shit together.
For the past 3ish weeks, I've been riding 3-4 days a week. Which, if you know how math works, you know is not very many rides. And also--those rides were things like "toodle bareback", "meet Teresa", "practice trotting on a loose rein in the field", and "JOMPING TIME".
|ZB R TEACHES MONKEY LESSONS|
Which, whatever. Reality is a thing I live in and hey, drafties are supposed to grow until they're 8 and she's 6 so no rush here.
I guess to me, that makes it even more cool to watch what a ZB can do on this schedule.
Once this spring, I got a wild hair and popped Zoe over some crossrails. And she was adorable.
Then a few weeks ago, I was like "what fun, let's do that again".
And she was adorable again.
And then last week, I was like "yeah let's have this be a thing" because y'know. Variety. Fun.
So yeah, that's Zoe jumping like... her 15th jump ever. Seriously. When we jump, I just put up a crossrail, pop over it, tell her she's wonderful, and move on. And by move on, I mean the first time we jumped, it was over the same crossrail like 3 times. The second time it was a different crossrail maybe 4 times, and the latest time was TWO crossrails, a total of about 7 jumping efforts.
It's fun. It's easy. It's simple. And then we leave it alone.
I sort of do. After we'd had a couple rides this fall, I tried picking up the reins and doing that whole "riding" thing.
|in a jump saddle because reasons|
She was rusty. I was rusty. Canter is definitely a work in progress because oh yeah, fitness is a thing.
|maybe next year i'll learn to sit the canter|
Then we left it alone, again. Next ride was a bareback toodle with no goals or agenda. Primary skills worked on were "eating cookies" and "smooshing".
We're back on our winter schedule of late night rides with my best barn buddy and the other night, before she got on, I chucked my phone at her to grab some video and hopefully get a screenshot with our fancy boots on.
I put my leg on.
Zoe went forward.
I picked up the reins.
Zoe moved softly into the contact.
We stepped up into the trot.
|there actually is video buuuut guess who hasn't done anything with it|
I finished that ride grinning like an idiot.
It is so cool to be on this journey with her. To focus on the relationship and having fun and being realistic about our trajectory. To give her time to grow up and me space to live life and then start to understand that the panicked flailing and pressure and struggles of past horses really just don't matter.
Not to her and not to me.
She's the nicest horse I've ever had.
We're doing better than we've ever done.