Because yesterday was stupidly busy I didn't get to ride Freelance. Last night the kids and I talked about it, and I said I might work her after Heath's soccer game. Jessica piped up, and asked if she could ride her too.. I thought for a moment and then decided 'why not'. As we were leaving, I asked Heath if he wanted to ride. He said 'no' dismissively, and said he'd be too busy playing in the dirt. I didn't push it. So he threw on his track pants and runners and off we went.
I lunged Freelance (she's not getting much energy feed and was a bit of a slug on the lunge), and then got on her. She felt lazy and cumbersome to begin with. But my lessons with Grant are really helping both my riding and that all important confidence. Freelance and I did a little work on the circle, but she needed to go 'large' to really start moving forward, so off we went, and all of a sudden, I was really riding her, and she started working truly, like the Freelance and Bronnie combination of old. Both kids by this stage had buggered off, and I began thinking Jessica was going to miss out on her ride, which was a shame because the mare was just going so beuatifully and because Jessie was just so excited about riding Mum's horse. So I called out to them as I rode past the arena door, and finally Jessica heard and came running.
Jessica ran into the arena gallery, and then stopped, silent for a moment. Then "Mummy... you look so nice riding Freelance'. It helps when Freelance and I ride well together. She wanted to spook in the corner at one of the resident corner monsters, but I was riding well, and had her between my legs and my hand, and so instead she just travelled forward into the bit.
Then I got off her, and Jessica got on. Dear Freelance..... All of the work we've done with the kids on her in the past has involved me leading the mare and staying by the bridle. I had Jessica on the lunge, just to be safe. And Freelance didn't want to leave me. Her earnest eyes looked at me, worried, and said 'no, I have Jessica on board, I am supposed to stay with you, I must keep her safe'. Finally I encouraged Jessica to steer Freelance out, and told Freelance she was a good girl to leave me. Freelance looked worriedly at me, then said 'ok, you know what you are doing, I shall take care of your little girl'. I asked Jessica if she was ready to trot? Then said 'and forward to trot'. Jessica gave her a little kick and off they went. I allowed Jessica to rest her hands on the saddle, because Freelance is bigger, with a bigger and bouncier stride than the ponies she's used to riding. My darling mare... There's been much said wrong about this mare. Many insults thrown at her, and many offers to dispose of her. But she looks after the kids with a kind look in her eyes. Each time they stopped for a rest Freelance pushed hopefully at her side reins (which I'd put back on to keep her mind on the job) and said she'd had enough. But then willingly went forward again.
When Jessica was up and trotting, Heath arrived back in the arena. He looked at his sister trotting on Mum's horse. Heath hasn't ridden for a while. Then suddenly asked if he could ride her. I looked up instantly and said 'of course you can'. He was impatient for Jessica to finish. And a little nervous when he got on. And looked a little all at sea. He began kicking dear Freelance, who again wanted to stay with me, because that's what she'd been trained to do, and his heels got close to her flanks, which she didn't like. I stopped Heath, and said 'heels down, sit up', and he remembered how to do it (he did about 6 months riding), and then got the rhythm back. To begin with his stirrups were too long, but he got his balance back beautifully once I fixed them up. He didn't want to get off, and Jessica was jumping up and down begging for another go. Freelance was simultaneously saying she was tired and had had enough. So Heath did a little bit more, and then Jessica jumped back on for another half dozen circles. Technically I should have changed rein, and done then both ways, but that can wait for another day.
But look below at my gorgeous mare who, with only 3 weeks back in work, and really only being worked once or twice a week at that, didn't put a foot wrong with my kids. It was almost dark, and we were in the indoor arena, and these images are taken one handed, at ISO 8000-10000, at f.28 and at a max of 1/60 of a second, so I am the first to admit that they are very definitely a little bit marginal. But they tell a story. And it's such a nice story it is too... Thank you Freelance.. my love.. my darling..
After we rode and got home my brother Tom and the boys came over for dinner. So in addition to our joy with Freelance, and Heath's soccer team having a great win in their game, today has been a very good day.
What more could a girl ask for???????????????????
|Look at him smiling.. he was so pleased with himself. I always have to remember to wait until Heath is ready to do something like this. Then all of a sudden he surprises me and does it. He was so very pleased.....|
|Jessica. Finally riding her mum's horse properly.. She was so excited....|
|"Mummy.. she's quite bouncy....' Freelance is bigger than the ponies Jessica rides. And has a bigger, and bouncier trot. They look great together though, don't they?????|