I went to the barn again tonight to double check on Ashke's legs. There still wasn't any heat or swelling, although I had a moment of panic when Cassandra (one of the trainers I like because she laughs so much) suggested his hock was swollen, but then she got hands on him and said she was mistaken. Ashke was all over her, nuzzling and snuffling. He really likes her. (Actually, he likes all of the trainers except Margaret). I figure that means if I ever decide to do dressage lessons, it should be with her. I would consider doing it with Cinnamon, but she is mostly Hunter/Jumper and Cassandra is specific to dressage. He was all over me too. Kissing my face, nuzzling and lipping at my clothes. Just being a sweety.
While grooming him I discovered his butt was really sore. Like sore to the touch. Like really sore butt muscles can be after climbing a steep mountain up and back. It was good to find out that the reason he was gimpy yesterday was sore muscles, and I know how to help with that. We went to the arena and did some simple lunging. Five minutes into the lunge, he was much looser and relaxed. He cross cantered on the left lead, which is understandable, since his left haunch was the one that was so sore, but after he warmed up, he switched the back lead to the left and just flowed into the canter. We did about twenty minutes and then walked him out and put him away. He gets tonight off and then on Thursday I'm pulling out my newly made cones and starting him playing with them in the arena. J, T and I already have two rides planned for this weekend, since the temps should be in the upper 70's and there isn't any snow predicted for the next week. Maybe Spring has finally decided to arrive.
So, back to my topic at hand. Riding. More specifically, riding with connection. One of the blogs I follow, http://ayearwithhorses.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-journey-continues-building.html, had a great post yesterday about connection. One of the reasons I love this woman's blog is because she is a great fan of Mark Rashid and did a clinic with him a couple of years ago. (I would love to do one of his clinics. I love his books and his thoughts and just his way with a horse.) Anyway, go and read the blog and then come back, because she says it better than I do.
What I want is to be "whole" with Ashke, for there to be no difference in my thinking something and him knowing what I want. I want us both doing something we love and enjoy, not because of the work we are doing, but because of the connection between us. I think we have the beginnings of that. One of the things that was really obvious to me on Sunday was that he would follow me anywhere. I believe that means he sees me as a good leader, because when things get scary, he looks to me to see if he should be scared. When he spooks, he doesn't bolt. When he sees something he's not sure about, as long as I don't focus on the object, he'll walk past it. I have no problem at all in getting him to ride out alone. We are anchored in each other and that's enough for him while we are riding. And it's enough for me too.
I spend so much time when I am with him not thinking. Not thinking about anything. That's an amazing thing for me to experience, because I have dialog running in my head all the time. Most of it critical. But not with him. With him, I'm just me. It is the closest I come to living in the now.