Well Cash and I had not only a revolutionary moment in our riding, but I must admit I think we have had one of the best sessions I have EVER had with him yesterday.
We weren’t doing anything extravagant. In fact it was just big trot-walk-trot, circles around the big pasture in my new treeless saddle. I wanted a longer more true ride on him to check how everything is fitting and what else needed to be tweaked in the saddle.
The first few minuets Cash felt really fresh and I began to wonder if maybe I should have lunged him first….but I was already on him sooooooo why not give it a whirl? (and hope AND pray he didn’t decide to be a bronc today) Well we started out with just a quick warm up walk before I asked him to move into the trot. Since he was feeling a tad fresh I was making sure I had good contact on the reins “just in case” and a deep seat. So Cash did what he does best in most situations.
He stuck his nose up in the air and tried his best camel impression! It was quite a glorious one. I could literally see his nose above his ears. I tried pushing him forward at tad and when I asked for that he just flung his head into the air, back down and the back into the air again. I was rather confused since Cash NEVER tosses his head.
He will pull, he will chomp his teeth but he never tosses his head when I’m on him. It was around that moment I realized that somehow I had gone from steady contact to a death grip on the reins and I do Mean DEATH GRIP! Those suckers weren’t moving in my hands. Cash was literally yelling at me in his horsey way “Hey lady, Let go of my freaking face!!! I’m not gonna kill you I swear but your rubbing my face raw!!!”. Even though he’s in a bitless bidle that rawhide piece can get uncomfortable and probably down right painful if hauled on and he was letting me know I was right near painful!
So I aimed Cash for the far pasture fence and with a big sigh (and a small prayer to the horse gods) I relaxed my hands and let the reins slide through my fingers until I was at the buckle. At this moment Cash immediately relaxed his head and dropped his neck. He pushed off from behind and for the first time that I can remember I felt him reach forward and lift his back! I could literally feel him engage his muscles and swing his back! His stride grew long and ground covering and I had the most giddy feeling in the world. Cash was in the first step of self carriage! His head was low but he was engaged, and listening. He was soft to my leg, listening to my seat and responsive on the reins. It was like he said “Finally woman! I can breathe!!! You just gotta have a little trust in me”
I didn’t want to breath in case the feeling disappeared. I stared down in stunned silence at his shoulders wondering if I was hallucinating or somehow in a day dream. Could Cash really be truly working on the flat???
To make sure I wasn’t in some weird alternate reality I brought him down to walk and asked for trot again. He did it again, and again. I wasn’t dreaming I really wasn’t!
The second I tightened up on the reins his stride became choppy and he threw his head back up. Then when I realized what I was doing and relaxed he went right back to being engaged and relaxed. He gave me everything in a way I’ve never noticed before. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have a tree in-between me and him or if for what ever reason I was just more in tune with him but I’ve never felt that engagement before with him. I’ve never felt the currents of power rolling through his back before. There was always a block somewhere either stress, pain, miscommunication, or fear on mine or his part. But today that had disappeared into the most amazing ride!
I’m still on cloud 9! I can’t even begin to describe the giddy feeling coursing through me right now. This is the first time I’ve ever felt like we truly connected doing flat work. He was so in tune with me and I was relaxed and listening to him. Other than a few times he tried to dodge out of the pasture to his favorite apple tree (He can’t be completely perfect now.) We had the best ride we have ever had. It was truly a gift today and an eye-opening moment. I swear he continues to have more and more to teach me and the moment I feel frustrated with him he turns around and gives me the world when I just relax and trust him!
Cash is both a friend and a tutor. He has taught me is how to over come my fears and to trust again. To learn to listen with more than just my ears. He has taught me how to speak with no words and to work in harmony and not against a horses nature. With out the lessons he has taught me I wouldn’t be having near the success I am with Jack or even in my professional world working with dogs and even people for that matter. I just have to remind myself to stop and look at whats going on and RELAX! (breathing helps to….ya know the whole staying conscious on your horse thing tends to vastly improve a ride)
Thank you Cash-man for the best ride! I do think my new saddle EZ fit saddle is worth every penny if my rides keep going the way they are going!
Until next time