This week, I learned once again all about the benefits of regular riding.
I have been making extra effort to spend enough time with the horses, whether while riding, or doing something in-hand, or even just grooming.
I did something almost every day.
And so, I was scheduled to ride Cyrus today. But the weather had plans of its own. The stunningly beautiful sun-shiny morning morphed into cloud-covered, threatening-to-rain afternoon sky. The cold front had met the warm front and we were suddenly in the middle of a weather-changing windstorm. Trees leaned left and right. Leaves flew first up ever so high, before landing on the grass. A dark puff of cloud headed over the riding ring, threatening rain.
Undeterred, I thought I'd give it a good go. If nothing else, I'd give us a chance to squeeze in a quick workout - either in saddle or not - and call it a day. I put my imaginary bubble around us and got into the saddle. As Cyrus sauntered off into a calm, soft walk, I knew I'd be able to ride today.
I expected Cyrus to spook.
I expected him to get all excited, to throw in a buck or a sidestep in response to the sound of the gusts as they whistled in our ears.
I expected him to move with tension, jigging the walk or bracing the back. Instead, he was the picture of reliability. We walked, trotted and cantered without one false step.
Turn left? OK. Canter right? No problem. Work on the pattern? What fun!
Once again, I was reminded how horses, like humans, enjoy attention.
The more I do with Cyrus, the more he wants to do. So today, although I could see the weather approaching, I didn't want to leave without a quick ride. And I was rewarded with such a great time!
I guess it goes without saying that the more we do, the better the horses become. We already know that every major goal begins with a first small step. Even if a single ride doesn't go as well as we'd hoped, each ride adds up. Assuming we follow a set plan with a sound lesson and training strategy, we can make progress step by step, day by day.
Today's fantastic ride was a delightful surprise and made me realize yet again how important it is to find a regular riding routine. Stick with the plan, and give it all you've got! Because the horses are truly worth it.
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