So, a bit of background before I jump into how proud I am of Grace!
Last August, I had quite a tumble off my girl and lost most of my confidence. Over the past several months, we've done most of our work in lessons on a lunge line. Only in December-ish did I start walking off the lunge line (not trotting, mind you) and only a few weeks ago did I work her by myself.
In my lesson on Tuesday, Grace was so focused and doing so well that my trainer suggested I try trotting off the line ... so we did! It was the first lesson I can remember not having any fear of coming off, and when we trotted off the line, everything felt so natural again! So, I was a little nervous about working her by myself today, thinking that I didn't want to mess anything up. Well, the lunging was interesting, because she clearly wanted me to be riding rather than lunging (or to simply let her out on pasture to gorge herself on grass), but I always lunge her before I ride to get all her wiggles out (she has lots of wiggles!). She decided to test my authority and refused to move, and then of course when she finally did, it was wild galloping and complete goofiness. When she finally settled down, I thought I would probably only walk her out a bit, as I didn't know how well she was going to focus. Well, then she decided to be a stink about letting me on I'd get her perfectly positioned at the mounting block, climb up the steps, and pick up the reins, only to have her take a big step back so I couldn't get on. Fifteen or twenty tries later, she decided to stand quietly and let me on.
I was still thinking we were just going to walk out, because I didn't want to push my luck. I didn't want to trot and scare myself again. But after maybe twenty minutes of insanely focused and responsive walking (with many changes of direction, yields, small circles, straight lines, etc) I decided to try a few steps of trot. She was such a good girl!!! Balanced, forward, easy, and nothing she did made me nervous in any way!!! We trotted maybe four or five times, each about a minute or two. It's not much, I know, and it sounds kinda odd that I'm so happy about it, but it is such great progress from where we were even a month ago! The last trot, we even changed direction on the diagonal!
It was warm enough to hose her off for the first time since winter, so I did that. I was expecting her to freak out about it because last summer she would have a fit every time I rinsed her, but she accepted it completely, and seemed in fact to very much enjoy a whole winter's worth of dust and sweat being rinsed off. Granted, I didn't really get any of her neck wet (I didn't want to push my luck: she had done so much already) but she was totally fine with the water being all over her body, legs, underside, and tail. She even lifted her tail for me so I could rinse underneath it
She was rewarded with lots of good, sweet grass, a carrot, multiple peppermint cookies, and time with her best buddy. Oh, and her buddy's owner offered an apple cookie which she enjoyed immensely
I am so looking forward to this summer. She's going to show me so many things, and we're going to learn a lot together. I love this horse!