I s-o–o-o wish I had video of this, but I had no idea it would be so good and blew off bringing my camera. I got on Billy tonight for the first time in at least three weeks. We had been working with him on the longe line, but I was out of town for a couple of weeks so I didn’t ride. He and I are about the same age in horse/human years, so we understand each other’s crotchety joints and other aches and pains. It takes a while for both of us to get warmed up, but we manage. Tonight was incredible. Billy was more on top of his game than he has ever been in all the years we’ve been together.
This is not to say that he was executing complicated dressage movements flawlessly. But what he did do was give himself over to me with complete willingness and enthusiasm. He was what dressagers call “through”–meaning he was carrying himself and carrying me with a nicely rounded back, softly arched neck, a swinging spring in each step of his trot, and doing it all with no urging from me other than a slight flexing of my little finger. He literally felt like he was floating, his mouth was very soft in my hands, and he volunteered to keep it all going for as long as I wanted. Which, since I was so grateful for the effort, I did not ask him to prolong for more than a very few minutes.
After our ring work, we went outside in the beautiful Michigan evening and walked the trails a bit with another horse and rider. Billy is not much of a trail horse…tends to panic if he goes out by himself. But with a companion tonight he was a perfect gentleman, and we both had a relaxing cool-down ride. I know I am on borrowed time with this horse, so I treasure every ride just in case it may be the last. But oh my! What a ride it was tonight! Very happy horse, very happy rider. It was so obvious he was happy that several other riders in the ring at the same time we were commented on it. He’s got a very expressive face–you will seldom be confused about what he is thinking or feeling. What a good boy!