We had a session yesterday, so I went looking for Saxony, camera in hand, as her round pen had been moved to fresh grass. There she was, beside one wing of the barn, watching me approach.
She dispatched the clublike carrot I offered. I love the crazy mess there at the end of her blaze, like white paint that ran thin through the canyon of her nostril and then pooled along her upper lip.
We had such a good lesson. My trainer sat in the bleachers of the indoor arena and gave instructions. We're leaving on October 15th, so she's setting us up with a sort of working curriculum until next July, when I hope to bring Saxony back to her for the festival summer.
Does it make any sense to say I rode my horse? That's how it felt. Forward walk, really big forward walk, then in to shoulders in, both directions. Don't drive her with my leg or seat. An extended segment of sitting trot. Sit, sit, sit. Trotting on a big circle, working on contact, keeping the bend. Our circles are drunken, but we were working. One, two, one, two. I can count the beats of the trot out loud if I need to. Then haunches in, which we'd never done. B just called it out, with plain directions. We did it; there wasn't time not to because we were just moving, flowing. Ending the hour with a forward walk on the buckle. I'm becoming able to think Saxony into changing directions during our stretching walks on the buckle. Her walk is different now, wavelike to ride, soothing and carrying. I didn't want to get off.
Back at the round pen, I saw that my mare has discovered her neck, now grown strong and shapely through her five-times-a-week training regimen (not including my own rides on her.)
She likes to lift her head high over the round pen panels and sometimes rest her jaw up high as if to stretch. And maybe she is stretching. It's another thing she's learned to do, stretch down and sigh out during work. Just as she's learned to present her face for the bridle and stay quiet at the mounting block. She seems to like having a job, seems to like school. I've loved my mare all along, but I've discovered more in her than I ever knew was there.
Leaving, I turned back, certain she'd be watching me. She likes people; she's a people horse. But I've finally realized that she's bonded most to me, which is the one thing I never expected to come of this time.