Today was Colby's "day off" from working in the arena, and he got to spend the afternoon and evening cooling off in the shade of his pasture, looking lazy but pleased with himself.
While my baby had the day off, my friend's horse didn't. She's been out of town for three weeks now and her sorrel Thoroughbred mare has yet to be exercised (she and a few other horses gallop around their pasture, but nothing too exciting). Windsong used to be a hunter jumper, and competed in some pretty high-end shows. Now she is "retired", even though she is only thirteen years old.
I decided to take her out on a trail with another friend of mine. She was a good girl when I led her up from the pasture; she hardly fidgeted in the cross-ties; and I've never seen a horse so willing to accept the bit. I fed her a couple of carrots before we left and let her slurp like a dog from the water trough before mounting up.
We rode down the driveway and turned left onto a dirt road. That we stayed on for a good thirty minutes, walking and occasionally trotting. I found Windsong bending nicely beneath me; she was very willing and seemed excited to be out of that pasture.
A stream of cars rolled by and Windy didn't even flicker an ear. She didn't spook, either, when a family of rabbits rustled the bushes to our right. I was smiling to myself as we picked up a canter, thinking 'Wow, what a lovely horse'.
Windsong cantered along nicely, but I knew she wanted a good run. She pulled at the bit, shaking her head and lengthening her stride bit by bit, as if she thought I wouldn't be able to notice. I laughed, gave her her head, grabbed a handful of her mane, and let her soar.
Galloping on a 16' hand Thoroughbred mare, down a steep road, made me catch my breath and hold on for dear life. I've yet to gallop on Colby, and trust me; I'm going to take my time doing it!
Windsong was my test run, and I was really enjoying myself. I felt disappointed when we turned back up the driveway, and I spent half an hour in an empty stall coddling that mare.