Tonight, the Filly and I warmed up. It was dark. There was no one else on the farm. We stopped to take a break and looked around at the very black, very empty space around the arena. She sighed, stretched her neck down, and turned to look at me as she does when she’s happy. And bored. And we took off, to a semi-controlled trot, and an uncontrolled explosion when I asked for the canter.
(This photo isn’t from tonight, but it looked like a more airbourne version of this.)
She reared. She kicked out. She twisted. I saw the fenceline approaching from an angle. And I sat back. I kept her head up. I booted her forward. I didn’t growl at her the way I’m inclined to when she’s deliberately naughty, I didn’t hiss, and I didn’t back off. She broke into a trot, I steadied her, tipped my left heel back and gasped.
I still haven’t forgotten that she can do ^this^, and purely as a result, she hasn’t either. The problem when she does ^this^ is that she has enough power from the Super Butt behind us that it takes very little to pop even the steadiest rider over her shoulder, and even less to send Former Miss Hunter over the arena fence…or through it. We’ve come a long way since these days (primarily thanks to the trainer, shown in this photo). The problem of Courage is for me to remember that we’ve come a long way.
“Ok. I’m done, mom. Let’s go.”
Her answer was a very-fast-but-calm canter. Unbalanced. Tight turns. Reminiscent of a barrel racer wearing the wrong saddle. I sat back. I steered with a jockey’s rein. I balanced for her. It wasn’t pretty, but we did it.
We’ve got a long way to go before it’s pretty, but the hardest part is going to be remembering all the times that I sat up, steered, and balanced like a rider.