Yesterday, Carter and I had what I think was our best ride ever. Was it the weather? Was it the sunshine? Was it the outdoor? I’m not sure, but I’ve never felt so satisfied and connected with him in our five years together. I think my trainer would say we’re “arriving”.

We’ve been quiet this season. Working on building core strength – both his and mine. It’s been tough. It’s been a lot of trot-only rides. There were times where I thought I forgot how to canter after not cantering for what seemed a lifetime. It’s also been a lot of watching friends show and place and qualify for regionals – we were hoping to go this year, too. I wouldn’t trade this season for anything because, in the end, it was full of working hard and working smart and we’ve come out growing, learning, understanding, and “arriving”.

I’ve been working on myself. Using some NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques to help me better control my anxiety of riding in the wind and rain (although not even close to overcoming or even really chipping away… I am working on it). I am mustering the courage to really allow him to move forward in an extended canter. I’ve been working on building my core strength and committing to myself that I WILL be a fit rider. Not for anyone other than myself and Carter. I will get there.

I’ve been working on Carter. Building his core, as well. Although, right now, you’d think that he was training for a strongman contest (he’s enjoyed the rich grass this year… really enjoyed it! I tease that he’s a chipmunk in a horse’s body storing up for winter) but he looks good. He’s healthy. He’s happy. He’s moving forward and on the bit like never before. I’m thrilled at where he is. It takes a village… I now realize all the references to that and I appreciate everyone (his vets, our trainer, our friends, family) for supporting our journey. We will get there.

In a few weeks, we are going to our first show since the 2014 season. We’re showing Second Level and I feel it – we’re ready. Yesterday showed me that we are ready. We are a partnership… and, sure, one of us has a “day” now and then, but more often we’re together. We’re listening to each other and better, we’re hearing each other. My husband asked me to describe the feeling and what’s different from before… the only way I could describe it was, “Refreshing. Connected. Fluid.”

Are we arriving? I think we just might be. And, I am thrilled.