OMG!!! Today was such an awesome day!!! I'm shaking I'm so excited!
Okay, so I had determined that I was going to ride Aires today, come hell or high water. So, I got to the barn this afternoon and pulled him out and tacked him up. I lunged him for a little in the round pen to make sure he as listening, then I took him over to the arena with my friend in tow. We got him lined up at the steps to the viewing platform (most convenient "mounting block" in the area) and I started to get in the saddle, only to discover that the stirrups were WAYYYY too long. So, I started adjusting them, but Aires was being a butt, so we went back to the round pen to get him listening again. Then it was back to the arena, got him lined up (YAY for the "step" command!) and I mounted up. My friend walked with us into the arena, then stepped back and started snapping pictures as we rode up and down the far long rail of the arena. I walked him a few steps, then asked him to stop. The first time I asked him to stop, he wouldn't, so I one-rein stopped him and he was like "OH! That's what you mean!" After that, whenever I asked him to stop, it was instant! Toward the end, I barely had to put any pressure on the reins, even! And turning...this boy is a turning PRO! He turns mostly off leg, I barely had to use the reins to turn him. In fact, at one point I had gotten too far into the corner of the arena to make a nice wide circle like we had been, so I applied inside leg, pulled the inside rein back a bit more than I would have for a regular wide turn and he executed a beautiful 180 turn in that tight spot (with only a little trip at the end 'cuz he's two and huge and doesn't know where his feet are most of the time lol). So proud of my boy and of ME!
But that's not all!! So, we walk to the gate and stop halfway through (every time he stopped when asked, I praised the heck out of him). The trainer was at one of the stalls on our left with one of her students getting a horse for a lesson. So, we start forward and then execute a beautiful stop and back for the trainer. Then she suggested we follow the horse she was leading up to the barn so that Aires could get used to following another horse. Well, apparently this mare is the one horse in creation that doesn't love Aires because she was NOT happy with him behind her. We weren't even that close (I made sure we weren't), but she pinned her ears, backed up and sent a massive kick flying at Aires. When Aires saw her ears go back, he stopped (I saw it coming too, so I asked him to stop just as he did) and started to back away, but the mare kicked before he could get away. One of her back hooves connected with his bit and he FREAKED! He half-reared, then spun almost 180 degrees (in the rear!) and trotted off away from the mare. I am EXTREMELY proud to say that I did not panic, I sat the rear and spin like a freakin' pro, and got Aires back under control within a few steps!!!!!! My friend came running over and was all "Are you okay?!" but I was laughing! Lol I rode all the way up to the barn (a good 40 feet behind Noel, the mare lol) and dismounted at the barn. The trainer and my friend are both extremely proud of how well I rode out that spook as well. THAT'S how I used to be able to ride! I've got my game back (mostly)!!!!!
Anyway, I'm going to have to Ace bandage my ankle or wear a brace when I ride because it HURT to drop my heel down...but oddly enough, I was better about keeping that heel dropped than I was about my other one. Lol
So, pics will be in my thread Just some pics of Aires
I ask that no one critique my position. I know it sucks bad. I know I hunch a bit (it hurts to sit up with my shoulder). But my position did get better as I rode more. Also keep in mind that this was the first time, pretty much, that I've ridden in the saddle I used (Abetta synthetic the BO has that I use because I can lift it lol).
I just want to say that I have the smartest, most amazing horse EVER!! I'm still a little nervous on him, but that's mainly because I'm not used to him. Today was an enormous confidence booster for me!!