Sticky. I stand still and sweat is pouring down my back. I haven’t even done anything and I already need a shower. The barn is thick with humidity and moisture. Everything has a coating of sweat, salt, shavings, horse. Everything. I walk into the tack room and between the humidity-laden moisture is the task of tacking up – it’s like dousing yourself in oil and trying to make it up a steep oil-drenched hill. My billet straps slip from my grasp. My gloves are still wet from last night. My helmet smells of … well, you probably know. But I walk into the arena and it doesn’t matter what the temperature is like. I’m in my happy place.
Today, he’s quick to get on the bit (okay, it’s because Laura hopped on first and he’s reeling from her encouragement). Inside leg push into the outside rein. A little stretch down and voila! On the bit. We trot. We shoulder-in. We warm up. Progressing nicely. Finding a cadence that works – I still have to find “our song” so that it’s easier to get into the rhythm.
We canter. We’ve learned a little routine to help us get us under himself. A little counter bend. A few steps of shoulder in. Ask for the canter. Voila. It’s been wonderful! I’ve been learning how to use a little counter bend to help him (and me) balance, especially into the corners. Keep him straight. Let us flow. It has been awesome! We add a level of complexity – canter sequence, adding a lengthening from one letter to the next, bring him back/collect, and throw in a 10 meter circle in the corner. Ok. Deal. Attempt one… Rut Row. That’s tough. Look up. Attempt two. Better. Look up find your focal point. Lengthen. Lengthen. Rut Row there’s that corner already. Collect Collect Collect… Circle. Well, okay maybe it was close to a 10m. Maybe if you weren’t watching. Attempt three. Look up. Lengthen. One Two (On the top of my to-do list: FIND THAT SONG). Bring him back. Annnnd circle. Yay! Done! Woo hoo. We’re done with that itty bitty success. We cool out and I dismount and it hits me.
Wow. It’s hot! I’d completely forgotten that I was drenched before getting in the saddle. Now, there is sweat dripping in my eyes. Gotta love this late-August weather, albeit abnormal this year, it’s the dog-days of summer no doubt. I’ll have to remember this feeling when we get the next round of Chiberia/Polar Vortex 2.0. I’ve heard it’s going to be a doozy of a winter… must remember this day. Hot. Sticky. It’s better than frozen toes for sure. Oh. And, remember that canter. We can do things, go places with that canter!