Well, I almost hate to even bother writing about last night - it was so uneventful! Got the mud brushed off of Arabee, put her on the trailer. She hasn't left the farm since she got here in 2005. She was sortof hesitant, did a short rear, but right away walked right on. I tied her by the hay bag, and off we went the 1 mile down the road. She did a lot of whinnying and pooping....but then my horses always did on the trailer.
We got there, and the farm hand met us and showed us the lights and restroom. I unloaded Arabee, Matt put the saddle, etc in Cora's wagon, with Cora, and we walked in. There were some horses in the stalls in the barn, and they whinnied to Arabee, and they talked back and forth as Arabee and I walked around the arena, about 2 laps each direction. There were many interesting obstacles - the arena fence was pipe gates, and there was a tarp on the other side, a stack of round bales with cats, pool noodles, a mailbox on a barrel, manure buckets, etc - but she quickly settled down. I tacked her up, got on, walked a bit, then trotted out.
She gave me the biggest, most rounded, hindquarters engaged trot I had ridden in a LOOONG time. It was exhilarating!! I almost didn't want to stop trotting it was so much fun, but the reason we came was for the cantering. So, I kissed her up into a canter....and it was like we'd never stopped riding in 2002. She just rounded up into a beautiful working canter - it would've won a hunter pleasure class! I was prepared for a rushed up trot until forced into cantering, then a few crow hopping bucks along the way - but no - just a perfectly beautiful canter! I love this mare!
After the first direction of cantering, the barn owner came - she had been in town and wanted to stop by and introduce herself. So we took a break. She is very nice - offered me to use her hot walker if I wanted, to ride on the 3 mile trail they have back behind the house, to ride with them when they go horse camping in Brown County - and she has a daughter who is only 5 months older than Cora (and two boys, too). So she left after we talked, and we trotted and cantered the other way after warming Arabee back up again (we talked for a long time!)
She was great the other direction too. It took longer to get her to come back to a trot this time - I think she was having fun cantering! It was getting late and Cora was DONE, so we walked out for 5 minutes on a loose rein, and finished up.
So, I put the sheet on her steaming back, walked her a bit more as Matt turned the diesel on to warm 'er up, and I loaded Arabee, I put her in her stall for about 1/2 hour while Jack finished his Senior feed and she ate her handful of corn, and when I finished the rest of the chores she was dry. I took her sheet off, and turned the horses out for hay. It went great, and I'm ready to do it all over again on Sunday!
Happy Valentine's Day!