I know I'm slacking off, don't remind me.
I've been doing lots of working and riding and other fun stuff at the barn lately. The big summer AQHA show that we always go to is coming up soon, and I'm very excited. I'm hoping that Stella will behave herself as well as she did last year, but I'm also preparing myself for whatever she decides to do while we're there. Agh, unpredictable horses...
The kids came for a lesson yesterday, so I tacked up Tina for little Shelby and led her around. She told me to let her ride by herself, so I did. I just stayed nearby in case she had trouble getting Tina to steer or go. Tina really requires a lot of leg, and poor little Shelby doesn't quite have the length or strength to keep her going. She's still having trouble with the idea of using the left leg to turn right and vice versa, but I think she'll get it in time. She's really young, but she really likes it. She saw my English saddle in the tack room and asked me about it. I told her that they're for jumping when she asked if they're the kind that "you don't hang onto." I tell her to hang on tight to the reins and horn when I let her jog a little. When she gets longer legs and a more secure seat, we can work on weaning her off of the horn.
I felt so good when I was helping Shelby mount up. I couldn't lift her onto the horse, so I asked Larry to come over and give me a hand. Shelby looked a little worried and had to check to make sure I was going to lead her around even though Larry was the one who had to lift her onto Tina's back.
I also saw her, her mother, and her brother in the grocery store last Sunday. I was looking around for the least expensive carton of orange juice when a small child came running out of nowhere and latched onto me. Shelby spotted me and had to run over for a hug. It's kids like her who make me think twice about not really wanting children of my own :)
I rode Stella yesterday. She was pretty good, particularly toward the end of the ride. She's been really energetic lately. I blame the high-energy feed that Larry insists she eat so she'll be less "ribby," but I do agree that she really needed to gain some weight. She's just a hard keeper. Stella wanted to do her best impression of a giraffe at the beginning of the ride because she saw the other horses playing in the pasture. I worked the silliness out of her, though, and she relaxed enough to give me a lovely trot and canter. I mostly sat the trot yesterday. I don't know why. I wasn't hurting. I just felt like sitting, I guess. Stella got a nice rinse at the end of the ride. We were both covered in sweat and we both thoroughly enjoyed the cool water.
Stella got a break today. Larry asked me if I'd school Chester, and I told him that I would. He even said that I could use my own saddle instead of riding in his new western saddle. I miss his old one and I'm rather unhappy about the fact that he's loaned it out to someone :( I tacked up Larry's beastly stallion with my "wussy" English saddle and lavender saddle pad (which looks really good on Stella AND Chester), and we went out for a ride.
I mounted up and immediately started thinking about Mac. Chester is Mac's half-brother, out of the same mare, and I swear that Chester looks, moves, and acts a whole lot like Mac did. The thoughts weren't actually bad, but I was still uncomfortable at first. I miss Mac so much. Believe it or not, in eight days it'll have been two years since our last ride together. That means that it's been almost two years since he was euthanized. At this point I feel that I'm as healed as I can be after the traumatic experience of watching one of my best friends die in such an untimely, undignified manner. It still hurts a little, though.
We had a good ride together once I focused on the here and now. Chester really, really drives from his hindquarters. His power is absolutely amazing. He's just like Mac. His trot was lovely to post and to sit, and I spent time doing both. We even cantered tonight. I haven't really been able to canter him that much before tonight because he wouldn't readily pick it up. I hate to say that because it makes me sound like I can't ride anything but a pushbutton school horse, but each time I would try to drive him into the canter I'd have to get off and sit down because the pain was so bad. Even though I'm fairly well-muscled, something (Diagnosis, anyone? Please? It's only been six years...) prevents me from really driving. It was wonderful to finally canter him. He was powerful at the trot, but his canter was EPIC. I've never been on a horse who canters so powerfully. Mac wasn't even like this. I love riding Chester, even though it makes me miss my good sir.
Larry even said that I looked good riding Chester tonight. I didn't feel like I deserved that compliment, but it sure made me all happy on the inside :)
I'm excited for the Quarter Horse show.