Sometimes, when one is working toward an elusive goal, the sudden weightlessness of achieving that goal can cause surprise or shock. Or awe, in our case.
Ashke finally achieve apogee in his canter last night during our lesson. He was attentive, tried hard, and for the first time, felt light and responsive. There was a couple of times where he got a tiny bit tense in anticipation, but calmed back down to an easy response. We even had a moment when we were working on figure 8's and he offered a flying lead change, with a lifted right shoulder. I was so thrown off balance that we didn't do anything other but stutter to a halt, but the offer was there.
No pinned ears. No kicking out at my heel. One stride transition.
I floated the rest of the night on that canter.
We have been working toward this for five years.
I think the new supps are working. Yesterday was our third ride in a row, the first time that has happened in months. We did a lesson on Saturday, a ten mile ride at Barr Lake on Sunday (in the sunshine with a 5 mph pace) and another lesson on Monday night. We did ground poles, then played with patterns around them: Figure 8 work, with the transition between the poles, back out of the poles, sidepass over one pole, then pick up the canter in a random direction (which Amanda called out for us). We did leg yields at the canter, serpentines with w-t-w-t-c-w transitions, and shoulder in/haunches in along the rail. He was so smooth, not sore at all (which I was expecting) and so very responsive.
It didn't hurt that he knew Amanda had cookies in her pocket for him.
The apogee feels wonderful. I'm sure there will be some free fall before we start climbing again. But for now, this feels pretty spectacular.