It was a long, hot, humid summer. I didn’t get a ride in for almost seven long weeks. When the temperature finally broke early last week I couldn’t wait to get out on Dharla. I contemplated lunging her, but decided it would be a good test of how well behaved she is if I skipped it. I guess I was feeling edgy and I so wanted to do what I was used to doing with Tia, which is just tack up and ride. No matter how long it had been, I just got back on Tia like it had been yesterday. No fuss, no lunging, just gear-up and ride! I liked that and I want Dharla to have the same work ethic. I figured the only way to know if she’s capable of that is to try it out and see.

I grabbed my helmet and cell phone (something I have to remind myself to take on rides) and headed out to the barn. Dharla was unsuspecting and walked right up to me. Not that she’s ever all that hard to catch. Usually she’s curious and friendly and wants to interact with me. As is my habit, I’d groomed her at breakfast, so I started piling on the gear. She was quiet and cooperative, bored with the whole process almost! We walked through the gate together, listening to Bullet who, though his head was buried in a fresh pile of hay, was already lamenting Dharla’s absence. I made a few adjustments to our gear, swung up into the saddle and off we went.

The first thing I noticed was that Dharla seemed to be walking at a slightly faster pace than normal. I liked that. Nothing irks me more than a plodding walk, and sometimes Dharla can really drag at the walk. That’s something Arabians are not usually noted for and I don’t appreciate it when she does that. (She’s quite capable of a faster moving walk!) The second thing I noticed was that Dharla was a lot less spooky than she’s been in the past. That’s not to say she didn’t spook at anything … she did. But she didn’t seem to anticipate the scary spots on the trail like she usually does. All I can think is that the seven weeks we took off was good for her mentally and apparently she needed a break. A lot of the little issues we get into at certain places on the trail were gone. Non-existent. At first I thought it was just a fluke, but as the ride progressed it became more and more genuine. I was tickled pink, but not thoroughly convinced it would stick. That remained to be seen.

A couple days passed before I could get out again. This time I rode with my husband, so I didn’t expect any of the occasional wariness that I get when I ride alone. Overall we had a great ride and both horses seemed happy to be out together. Then a few more days passed before I could get back out for another ride, but my second ride alone was as pleasant and unencumbered as my first. All I can say is that Dharla feels more “grown up” if that makes any sense? She’s just not giving me the kind of resistance we’ve struggled with in the past. I’m really not sure what changed or if it will stick, but I’m liking what I’m seeing. I do wonder if she just needed a break? We’ve been riding very consistently since I brought her home over a year ago. Maybe she just needed to digest some of what we’ve done? I dunno. I do know the seasons are changing again and that means the trails will start to look different. She could find new things to spook at …. or not! Only time will tell.

My eye surgery date is fast approaching. I know that will mean at least a week, if not more of no riding. I can only hope and pray my vision is improved by this procedure. If not, I’ll be up against some big problems. If nothing else I’ve learned how much we take our vision for granted and how valuable our sight really is. I’ve been impacted by this journey in ways I’d never imagined. But I’m tired of not seeing well. I’d like to have my life back now, thank you very much!

6 thoughts on “Elusive

  1. It’s always nice to see maturity in your horse. My 11-year-old Hanoverian has emerged from dumb-blood status this year, though he will still test me occasionally. But mostly he’s impressing me with his new-found maturity. … Hope your surgery goes well … Dorothy 🙂

    • Isn’t it great when they finally begin to respond? I’m raising a puppy right now and while I try not to wish him through all of his puppy-hood, I see signs every day of his growing up and maturing. It’s such an accelerated process with dogs that I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy these moments while I can. He’ll be a mature dog soon enough! I think it’s even harder not to want to rush our horses through those learning years, but really … it’s the journey, not the destination, right? (Repeat after me …. !) Thanks for the well-wishes and for dropping by!

  2. Loved your post Rontu – struck a chord with my day today!
    Like you and Dharla, the horse and me have had a long layoff mainly due to the heat and flies and vicissitudes of life in general intervening . I’ve had an old friend (longstanding rather than elderly) visiting who wanted to ride and today we took my unpredictable boy down to the school for a gentle re-introduction to work and – hallelujah – also like you with Dharla – suddenly found him willing, ready and able! I think you’re right; they do “grow up” and digest the questions we ask and maybe miss the buzz of working well together.
    I’ve never seen my horse ridden by anyone else, and was sort of impressed he looked so much better than I thought (though losing a good few pounds might improve the picture!), and he was so well behaved, sympathetically ridden by my friend (what a relief!). I particularly loved the way he looked over to me for approval every time they passed (am I doing ok Mum?)!
    Really hope your eyesight is properly improved this time – you’ve put up with the problems for long enough …good luck!

    • It’s so nice to hear from you again and interesting that you seem to have noticed the same thing with your somewhat “unpredictable” boy! I kept hoping that I could get out again this week to see if it was just a fluke or not, but too many things got in the way. I’m having another eye surgery on the 27th …. hopefully the last. And hopefully things will begin to improve after that. For now, I’m seeing 0% in that eye, so anything at all would be better than that! Thanks so much for your comments and well wishes!

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