Well, mainly Granite was.
I sent TK off to the Wake Forest game with his family (because I had an evening of dancing downtown planned with some girlfriends) and this gave me the whole evening to be at the barn. Hours of daylight left and nothing to do but be with my horse. I really like most of our boarders and certainly like my BO, but I was alone Saturday evening and I loved it! Just Daphne and Granite and I. It was perfect.
Plus, I was already super Zen because I spent the previous 3 hours cleaning my 1/2 of the apartment and I feel sooo much more relaxed when I know I have a sparkling bathroom and a spiffy room.
Any-whoo. I trekked out in the pasture to get the big-grey-man and bring him in. He had some pep in his step (a huge rarity) and he actually spooked and tried to kill me three times. I sent a text to TK proclaiming my impending death and asking that he please take the dog for me and tell my family I love them. But apparently the worst starts lead to the best rides. After arguing with Granite that he would, in fact, NOT swing his butt out at the mounting block, I got on and started on our merry way.
The ride continually improved. We did lots of trot work and trotting poles and changes of direction. I tried to stay off of his mouth, however, he collected pretty well when I did take up contact! I think this may be, in part, due to a new bit we tried! A french link, loose ring snaffle! I'd like to get those rubber stoppers (bc he is a baby and I don't want it pulling through on any occasion). He still chews a little (he chews on everything and has since I've known him) but he was much more focused and responsive.
I was really impressed with the way he felt in my hands, so I figured--'hell, lets shoot for the starts and see if he will canter'. And canter he did! 6 canter transitions, a couple of them within one or two strides of my cue! This is incredible considering that after his post-training breakdown, I could hardly get a trot and a canter was completely out of the picture. It felt like heaven and I fist pumped the air when I got it!
Granite continued on his path of awesome as I decided to work on lengthening and shortening trot strides. He was getting it! He didn't always answer the questions correctly, but he tried for me and he was listening to me. And that? Is a huge improvement.
Saturday, I saw the potential I knew he had (but I had started to doubt). I think the best part is that I haven't had his trainer on his back since late July. I started back at square one with him and its been shaky, ugly, and rough... but Saturday, we made progress. Just Granite and I together have finally made some progress. I know there will be some more steps back, but I saw a step forward and I know he CAN do it if I ask the right way. I was so impressed with our communication and our results!
After the ride, I gave G what I imagine was his last bath of the season. I whitened his tail and trimmed it and I scrubbed him good. I bathed the dog while I was at it. Then I hand grazed G, alone at the barn, as the sun set on our perfect evening!
The rest of the weekend was lovely too. I went out dancing with some long lost girlfriends, one of which is Hannah. Check out her blog, The Vitamin. She lives in the mountains and is a runner and a dog lover. I met her through Di-Aunt and she has ridden my old mare Karma a time or two. I had a blast dancing (I don't even like to dance) and drinking. TK came to DD for me and Sunday morning we headed to Charlotte for the Panther's game. You all know I'm a Redskin fan, but who can pass up free NFL tickets and a afternoon with family (TK and his little sister)?! It was HOT out and the Panthers are horrible this year, so we left during the 3rd quarter to duck into a bar and watch MY Redskins pull out a win in Over Time against the Packers :)
MK, TK, and Me in front of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC
When we got back home we met Eva for Mexican food and suddenly TK and I started feeling ill. By the end of the evening we were both miserable. We had managed to contract food poisoning (from what we can only guess was breakfast) and were sick all night and most of yesterday. Neither of us made it to work, but ended up feeling better during late afternoon. BLECH
I have the evening off tonight and literally, cannot wait to get my butt over to the barn. As luck would have it, I bet my ride won't duplicate Saturday's but by gosh, I can't wait to try it out! Then I hope to fit in a run before fixing Breakfast for Dinner (mimosas included). I also found out that my work meeting was canceled tomorrow, so thats TWO days in a row that I get to ride this week (even without making it to the barn yesterday).
This weekend has proved to me that despite my less than ideal work and living situations, I am blessed with: fun, beautiful and caring friends, an incredibly talented horse, a fun-loving dog, the best man in the world, and a lovely life.
I AM THE LUCKIEST.