I am somewhat speechless about today. But it's hard to keep a blog audience if you don't talk about the good stuff, too, so here goes.
Sometimes my horse is awesome. Sometimes he is an amazing creature who makes me happy to be alive, makes me proud of him and proud of myself. Sometimes he earns his keep.
Today was one of those days. I got to the barn around 4:30pm. I went out to the field and as soon as Junior saw me he began walking with his ears pricked towards the gate. I groomed him. He is SOOOO dusty right now I want to vacuum him. I might ask to use the barn shop vac pretty soon! I got out our showmanship chain and led him out to work on that a bit. He's been lazy to pick up the trot so I did get out a short whip for some encouragement. He was so good. He tried to bite me a few times. Playfully, of course, but still received swift "bites" back, and other than that he was great. We did everything, including a 360 DEGREE PULL TURN!!!!!! That earned him a HUGE "Good Boy" and big series of rough neck slaps (he seriously LIKES it) and the immediate removal of the chain to symbolize the end of the session. Using the chain for practice has helped him understand that it's work time.
Then we tacked up and headed out to continue our WHOA work. I got one foot in the stirrup and realized I didn't put my spurs on. I contemplated walking back to get them since he usually sucks at refinement without them, but I got on anyway, hoping I wouldn't regret it. Much to my surprise, he. was. awesome. He listened to my feet, he listened to my voice, and he even listened (a bit) to my seat! His pivots were super improved WITHOUT SPURS!?!?! He never played Giraffe once. He was just so awesome. So relaxed, so willing to listen to my aids. It was the perfect storm of RIGHT.
This kind of work is very encouraging. I'm glad that I have a horse I can work on different styles and different situations and he just does it all. We're not aimed for the olympics or the World Show, but I think this next year of showing will be even better for us. I am a little anxious (you've met me, right?) wondering how we'll do at shows without constant lessons. We've only taken 1 lesson since July and it was Dressage! My HOPE is that I'm creating a calmer, more adaptable horse and not just ruining the refinement I need for the open (stock type) shows I like. Days like today give me some hope!