Jared saluted the judge, and the two walked forward to the rail. As soon as they arrived there, Kiro immediately went into a working trot, collected and on the bit, with almost no cueing from Jared. I hoped that Kiro would follow the test as needed, because I remembered Jared saying Kiro wouldn’t let him adjust. After a nice twenty meter circle, the team continued at a working trot. In the corner, there was the canter, also flawless. The hitch came when Jared brought Kiro down from the canter, and began trotting a circle, which was fine – but suddenly, Kiro wasn’t having it.
Kiro threw his head up, flattened out, ears pinned and threw a hoof into the air, hopping gently with the other, a tiny rear, nothing Jared couldn’t handle, but my heart jumped around in my body so much I thought I would collapse. Oh god no. I looked around for a test to be posted, and thankfully I found it. I had memorized mine, but not his. He was in the Training level, I was in Beginner Novice. Looking over the sheet, I saw where they were – “Extended trot 20 meter circle; develop counter canter halfway through the circle” Ohhh dear. The issue was Jared was asking Kiro for essentially the wrong lead. For me, Kiro would have totally understood. For Jared, he understood, but believed that Jared was wrong, that he knew better. I just prayed that Jared could handle this.
And he probably did the best thing he could do. He dropped the reins. Kiro stood there then, confused at what to do. Jared slowly picked up the reins, walked a few steps forward, then asked for the lead again. Kiro bucked, and gave him the regular lead. My heart was still on edge, and it took all I had in me not to run out and take my horse. There I sat, biting my lip, throughout the entire course. I was so thankful when Kiro and Jared finally returned to the center, saluted, and the announcer called a, “Thank you,” to the team. Jared let Kiro have his reins, and gave him a very big pat on his way out. I saw him talking to a few people around him, likely warning them, before he made his way over to me. As soon as he dismounted and got a good look of me, he laughed. “Oh Krista Kat, you can breathe now!” He patted me firmly on the back and traded horses. I took Kiro’s reins and patted him as well before getting on, but offered Jared my apologies, “I am so sorry he did that. I should have read your test, I should have told you he wouldn’t have done that, I am so, so, so sorry!” But Jared only snickered, and patted Kiro’s nose, “Oh Krista, stop being so sorry! It’s fine, I figured he’d not like that very much. He’s your horse, Kat, and I knew that! I was just overjoyed to get to ride him at all, I really do like him. Not sure how fond he is of me, now …” He said jokingly. I finally managed to snicker, and got out, “Don’t take it personally, he’s treated others a lot worse!”
We had time to walk Northgate back to the stables and un-tack him before my test. On the way there, and back to the arena, Jared gave me very helpful pointers. The test was extremely easy, since Beginner Novice was as low as you could go in Eventing. I wasn’t ready to tackle any more than 2’7” yet, though, so I had to settle with the title. Soon enough, the whistle was blown for our entry, and we walked into the arena. Kiro was behaving perfectly.
Throughout the whole test, everything went smooth as glass. Kiro extended when I asked, collected when I asked, got all of his leads … he was truly a fine tuned machine. I loved him to pieces, I was so glad I was riding him. He received the biggest pats and love on our way out, and I came out of the arena smiling wide. “That was an amazing ride, Kat! No way you’re getting beat if you keep this up!” I thanked Jared for the compliments, “I just wish he was mine!” Jared laughed, “Yea, I wish he was mine too!” I patted my boy again, laughing harder now, “Psh, you’ll have to come through me first!”
We made our way back to the barn, and I let Kiro get a drink before switching tack for the upcoming Cross portion. I told Jared about how I usually rode him over the natural courses, and Jared took in every piece of information, “Now, he let you jump him just fine yesterday, so I don’t see him having any problems today. But keep in mind, he’s never jumped 3’3” … so be careful with him. And yourself. If he doesn’t want to do it, don’t push him, because he’ll hurt you, and I can’t have that happening. Okay?” Jared nodded, with a grin, “Thanks, Kat, for letting me ride him at all. I promise I won’t endanger either of us, I’ll take it very easy. I’ll use as little energy as possible. But I’ll admit, I’m excited to see what he can do.” I nodded, “Yes, me too. Well, let’s get him walking around. You’re the one that said we can’t let him get stiff!” He nodded, with a chuckle, and we went out. I handwalked him for a while, then we took turns riding him around. We walked pretty much everywhere, exposing the big black and getting a tour of the grounds ourselves. It kept us very entertained until it was time for Jared’s run. I sat on the fence of the warm-up arena as Jared took him over just two jumps, one at 2’6”, one at 3’. He did perfectly over 2’6”, but didn’t want to do the 3’. I sighed, very upset at the refusal.
Jared looked at me, “Kat … you have to do it. If you don’t want to, I’ll scratch. But he’s scared. He doesn’t trust me at all, and I think you’re the only one who can change his mind. You’ve jumped higher. You can do this one jump, I know that, but only if you want to. I’m not pressuring you, I’m just telling you the truth.” I nodded, and pondered for a moment. I knew Kiro could do it, I knew Jared could do it, and I think a piece of me (deep down inside) knew I could do it too. It was now or never … it was a simple jump, easy distance, nothing I couldn’t do. It didn’t even look that high, and my confidence had skyrocketed since I had started jumping again…
“Let me have him.” I stated quickly, jumping off the fence rail I sat on. Jared smiled wide, and quickly dismounted. “You’ve got this, Kat. You’ve got this.” I nodded, and hopped on. “I hope so!” I turned my boy, cantered a few circles, then aimed for the vertical.
Five strides out. It’s just three foot, you can do this … three strides out, Just up and over, no big deal, Kiro has your back, one stride out …. And flying.
It was the single most beautiful feeling I had ever had in my life. We were completely in sync, one body with two souls. Flawless, amazing grace, carrying us into infinity. I could feel him lift, arch, hover over the jump with perfect form and excellence. He landed with a feather-light touch to the ground, and the bliss followed through. With a whoop and a huge pat, I brought him down to a walk. “That’s my girl!” I heard Jared call, coming back to the center of the arena, “and that’s my boy!” I called out loud to my fantastic horse. I was so happy, I was nearly in tears. I hugged his big, powerful neck, his mane swallowing my face. “I love you! You’re the best pony ever!” I hopped off and went to his head, looking into his deep amber eyes, “a team, we’re a team. Unstoppable, perfect, amazing team, never to be separated,” I spoke only to him, before rubbing my hand over his forehead, ending at the little snip at the bottom of his muzzle. I then looked up to Jared, “Go get ‘em, best buddy!”
~ When I Die, Remember Me By My Horses ~
* Because They Are Responsible *
.: For Letting Me Live :. (c) xJumperx