There are days when I am braver than others. All summer, I have been looking at Tardis, wondering when I would feel ready to ride her on the road, not just at home on the pasture. I have tried telling myself that as explosive as she can be, she is really a sensible and reasonable horse, most of the time. Still, I kept bailing on riding her on the road, not quite feeling up for it.
Today though, it was different. The wind was quiet, traffic was slow, everything seemed like the perfect set of circumstances to ride my young horse on the road for the first time, except for the fact that I was alone, and I would have really wanted Aston to be there, to bring another horse, so Tardis wouldn’t have to go alone, but well, I mustered my courage and we went out anyway.
This is an amazing young lady. She just took everything in stride, even the new fence that has been set up around the neighbours pasture. (Usually new things must pr definition be horrifying, but not to Tardis.) We didn’t go too far, because she did stress a bit about hearing Ablaze and Marble calling for her back home, but just the fact that we went out on our own for the first time, and she was happy and up for it and unafraid is fantastic. All I could ever ask for.
We did encounter a horrifying street sign on our way home, which I decided we would have to talk to, so I jumped down and showed her the sign from the ground, rather than pressure her. She easily overcame her fear of it. (Still waiting for the biopsy result from that spot on her jaw…)
Returning home, Saleem was pretty upset with me, and he was guarding the fence like a hawk, making sure I knew how uncool it was to not take him for a ride… So, Saleem and I went out as well and I have to say, the change in Saleem lately, is remarkable.
All summer he has been a little below tempo, a little “with the breaks on” at all times, you know, hesitant, low on energy, taking short steps, without being lame in any way, just… not as I really wanted him to be, without me being able to point my finger at what the problem really was.
Then we started riding with a cordeo instead of a bridle and he really activated the breaks, refusing trot and canter. So for the last two months we have either not been riding at all, or we have been walking around the pasture without a bridle. He has been attentive, amused, and focused in a way I have never known him to be before, but I have wondered why two of his gaits suddenly deactivated.
So, I took him for a ride on the road last week, and he was fantastic. We even found a new grass path where we can trot and canter, not too far from home, and lo and behold, his gaits instantly returned once he was removed from home.
Something else that suddenly appeared today, was his walk. A new, energetic walk, not his usual sneaking along, hardly moving walk. No today, and last week, he was happy, he was relaxed, he moved freely, and he enjoyed finding new paths. In fact, he is much more courageous than me when it comes to exploring. I keep telling him that there might be a swamp, we have to be careful, or someone may have left an old fence here, that we can’t see, we have to go slow, and Saleem is a whole new horse, plunging headfirst into anything the world offers.
We stopped for apple stealing on the road side.
And of course we went back to our newfound path and tried our gaits…
I do wear a bridle when we are on the road, at least for now. I keep fearing that if we should encounter a tractor, I might not be able to handle it without the rein. But you know what, someday, one day, I will feel just like I did with Tardis today, and we will just do it. I need to give the both of us time, and be happy that Saleem is so happy these days, while we keep our goal in sight.