Friday, December 19, 2014

Awesome Night Ride!

So my last ride was in a lesson, which went well for the most part, and boosted my confidence a bit, but since it was in an arena, which isn't Arya's strong suit, I wouldn't call it FUN.  The one before that was a night ride, the first time I'd been on Arya since the day I fell off, and I just couldn't relax, and we cut the ride short due to my anxiety.  :-(  The ride before THAT, of course, was the one in which I came off.

So I've been both itching for a really good ride (defined by no anxiety and hopefully a little trotting) and a bit apprehensive about riding for a while now.  But tonight was a good ride, even if it wasn't a very long ride.

I get off work an hour earlier on Fridays, a bit before it gets dark, and was hoping we'd hit the road/trail while it was still dusk.  But alas, I got off work about 10 minutes late, ran to the feed store for Shar, got behind a slow vehicle, and of course had to fetch my pony out of her pasture, unblanket her, groom her, tack her, and then lunge her.  At least I could SEE her in the roundpen this time.

She was a little feisty at first, kicking out toward me (but not AT me, if you know what I mean) each time I asked her to change direction.  So I amped it up a bit, asking for a nice working trot instead of letting her trot slowly or even walk as I often do.  She got to make some pretty frequent turns until she started turning nicely without kicking out, and then she also got to slow down a bit.  After a few nice turns at a nice slow walk, I called off the groundwork and headed for the mounting block.  She did great for mounting, though Shar did me the favor of holding onto her.  (She's not very naughty, just sometimes walks off while I'm still working on getting on, which I'm not the most graceful at yet.)  She even stood stock still when Shar walked away.  Good girl!

We headed out, and to my surprise, I wasn't nervous at all.  Though I did talk up a storm to keep it that way--sorry for talking your ear off, Shar!  But really, I was fine.  It helped that Arya was really relaxed.  Her ears were flopped sideways, relaxed.  And she didn't mess with her bit--she really likes the Myler D-ring I have her in.

When we first started off, it was fairly light out, for being full-on dark.  What little moon there was was still up, and there were some clouds near it to help diffuse the light.  But the sky cleared off (nice and starry!) and the moon went down, and it did get a bit darker.  It doesn't help when you pass by a brightly-lit house (whether from porch/security lights or Christmas lights) then pass back into darkness--the contrast doesn't help, and it takes a bit for my eyes to adjust.  The horses didn't seem to mind (much--Flash did a little spook when we were passing a brightly-lit house).

We did some trotting.  Normally, my out-of-shape-ness is what limits how long we can trot.  Sometimes it's Ary's out-of-shape-ness.  Today, a couple of our trot sessions were ended due to Shar's leg-jelly-ness because she had a stirrup-free lesson earlier in the day.  I'm glad she was game to go out again with me, and impressed that she was able to trot at all after that, let alone post!

There was one time where Arya was dragging a bit behind Flash while we were trotting, and she started cantering to keep up.  But unlike the last ride in the dark, I didn't panic that she was spooking.  I one-rein-slowed her back down to the trot after a few strides.  Shar heard us coming up behind her and recognized the gait from the sound of her footfalls and asked if we were okay, but we were fine.

The only time I got "scared" (and it was more the kind of scared you are when someone startles you in the dark or something, but you instantly know it's just your spouse/kid/friend/whoever, and not an axe murderer) was when we were ambling along, almost home, and Arya ducked her head down.  She does that frequently, to rub her face on a foreleg, and I try to get her head back up ASAP, and to allow her to do it when we've already halted on my terms, but I'm not as good about that as I should be, and it's still a bad habit of hers.  For some reason, this particular time just gave me a really good startle and I actually shrieked.  Poor Shar worried what had happened, but I reassured her I was fine.  And I totally was--didn't have a nervous feeling in my stomach at all, just had a good startle for a split second.

So really, it was an uneventful ride (though I've managed to ramble on quite a while--have a nice peppermint if you read this far--Arya and Flash got some!), in a good way, and we got some trotting in.  Now I just really need to have a nice, daylight-filled, trot-and-canter-punctuated TRAIL ride, and I'll be a happy girl again, equine therapy wise.  :-)

Shoot, forgot to take pics again.  So here's what a photo I might have taken might have looked like, had I taken one and had one of Shar's neighbors houses looked like this:

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