I had a great ride on Varro today. It has been a few days since I had ridden and I soooo needed to "zen" a little bit. We did a lengthy grooming session then tacked up. Varro (and I) like routine. We like to start our ride the same way every time. There is comfort in repetition. We start every ride with me hand walking him around the outside of the dressage court. I have some trot poles set out and we walk over them. We both take this time to relax and warm up. Once we walk our lap, I do the final tightening of the girth at the mounting block and hop on up. After that we walk one lap in each direction then get to work.
Now back to the reason I haven't ridden for a few days: Thursday I had to put down my 37 year old horse, Major. I was an emotional mess. It was time as he had arthritis in both shoulders and horrible hooves. As the weather gets colder, it really affects him so, in the interest of his quality of life I decided it was time BEFORE it got so cold that he couldn't walk. Last winter was very, very hard on him and I could not watch it again this winter,,,,,,
Today's ride was a welcomed emotional "zen" for me. I did not plan on working on any movements or specific gaits. I just wanted a willing, forward horse to ride and Woobie did not disappoint. We did a lot of walking alternating from free walk to collected and back again. I was just looking for a steady rhythm. I then moved on to some trot work. He was steady and forward for most of it! We did a tiny bit of canter work then took off on a short trail ride. The neighbors put a flag up on their fence for Veteran's Day and Varro snorted at it a lot while we were tacking up. Since he was fairly tired from our arena work, I thought it would be a great time to go walk past the flag! He eyed it very closely on our way out, but on the way back his head was lowered and he was happily swinging along and relaxed. It was a good ride today. I cannot wait until I am employed again so I can start my lessons back up with my awesome trainer!