I rode three horses today, which I think is some sort of record for me. The last one on the list was Billy, who I haven’t ridden since early May. He was simply wonderful. From my work with him on the ground, I knew he was improving, but I had no idea it would be this good. The scenario was very similar to last time–Karin said she was going to lunch and when she got back I would ride. She watched me work him on the longe line, and noted that I was getting the proper technique down pretty well. This is very important, because we want to build up the proper muscles which aid Billy in self-carriage, not the ones that make him stiff and locked and which contributed to his downfall in the first place.
When I got on him, my instructions were a bit different from last time. Now I was to simply stay light on his back, keep my legs off of him, and give tiny half-halts while maintaining a very light connection with his mouth. He responded by being light and forward, with a powerful push from the rear end. As long as I didn’t squeeze him or pull on him, he was so-o-o happy to go forward–and keep going and going and going in his own imitation of the Energizer bunny. A little shift of my weight was all it took to turn him, and dropping my leg down long brought him to a smooth downward transition from trot. He’s such a wonderful horse! The more delicate and subtle the aids, the better he responded. I love this horse! And, God forbid, were he to die tomorrow, I could still say I had a damn good ride!!