So I didn't ride over the weekend because it was gross and cold and wet. But I did go out for Sunday Funday at the barn...the designated day where everyone comes out and just rides and has fun on their horses or whatever Casey needs to get ridden.
Amber was a little grumpy at first, possibly because it's the first time she's worn the fork in a couple of weeks. I didn't even have contact, but I think she just knows what the fork means and what CAN happen with it.
After she was just a complete crab over the warmup, I took it off and she was a thousand times less grouchy, and she softened a lot better. She is getting to the point of holding the contact, instead of down and immediately up, I'm getting a good 4-5 strides where she will hold it. I really have to keep reminding her 'forward forward forward' with my seat or she loses her impulsion, because I also use softening to get her back together if she starts running out and I need to differentiate between that so she won't think I want her to get slower.
We did get one GORGEOUS walk-canter transition that was perfect. I was super happy about that. I let her be done on that note.
I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and it's become very apparent to me again that this is my last horse. After knowing her, owning her, I honestly don't think I'll ever be happy with anything else. She's just one in a million.
We've got such a close bond. She's so good, so laid-back. She's got so much heart, spirit and personality - you never have to guess what she's thinking. But at the same time, she's so well-behaved. Within reason I don't worry about that opinionated personality causing her to do stupid things.
I think I get used to her being so well behaved. She's just okay with whatever. I do funny things to her all the time for laughs. Stuff that other horses wouldn't tolorate for a second - like the time I stuck my gloves on her ears. Or the time I made her carry my back pack around her neck. She's just like, whatever...I don't know why you like to make me look so silly!
I forget how really wonderful her manners and respect are. When I was turning her out, one of the riders was riding her horse around the back, and for whatever reason, it got all the horses excited and everyone started galloping and bucking and farting like a bunch of morons. Amber's strap on her sheet came undone. Oh crap. Don't need her tripping on that! So I grabbed her halter, and soon as she saw me, in the midst of all the galloping horses, she just came over and waiting patiently for me to do what I was going to do.
Something else that's really touching that she does, that really shows how close we've gotten, is that in the pasture, if something scares her, or if she's getting bullied, she will immediately run over to me for protection if I'm around. I've had to sting more than one butt with a leadrope before when I was leading her in the pasture and some other horse decided they were going to cause trouble.
Before I forget while I ramble - I'm not overly proud of my horse or anything, you know (ha) - her back soreness is a lot better. Hoof-pick test is getting less reaction. Still hoping to have her done by a chiro, but I think fitness is helping a lot.