Sunday, June 3, 2012
I walked into the barn, arms laden with my sidesaddle gear. I laid everything down on the table in the tack room. I turned and saw Leslie, the Assistant Trainer at Bluebonnet Farm. No other customers were there and it seemed unusually quiet. I asked her who else would be coming out and her response was, "1 maybe." She then asked me who I wanted to ride sidsaddle, Jose or Chip. I bit my lip and drew in a big breath beore I answered her. "I want to ride Sport aside today." Leslie was completly silent. She just stood there and kind of stared at me and said nothing for the longest minute ever..so I continued, "I am serious Leslie. I will ride him astride first and then put the sidesaddle on him to see if it fits. It it does and he does not seem to object, I will lunge him a few minutes and then just see how it goes." I could tell Leslie was nervous. Sandy was not there that weekend and I felt a tinge of guilt. Poor Leslie probably thought I was trying to "hood wink" her. (for you non-Texans .. hood winking means trying to get away with something!) She finally agreed and I got ready to ride him astride first. * * * * Sport was amazing. His neck is so upright, his head seemed to just lay back into my lap. I could see all of his front legs as they motored out and in front of his body. We worked serpentines and through cones in both the trot and slow gait. If that is all we did, it would have been a lesson that would have kept a smile on my face all week long...but as you know, we did so much more! * * * * I cooled Sport down and then took him back into his stall. We took off his cut back saddle and I whispered a prayer asking God to make the sign loud and clear. The groom lifted the Owen sidesaddle onto his back and I stepped back. It was perfectly flat. Just for a second, I shut my eyes and smiled. A few adjustments later, and Sport was tacked up. I walked him out into the isle and grabbed the 3 step mounting block. Abandoning my first idea to lunge him. I stepped right into the stirrup. Up I went. I swung my right leg over the saddle and just sat there for a moment sitting astride. Sport was his happy go lucky self. We tightened the girth and he did not even flick his ear. I carefully moved my right leg over and got into position. I left my cane on the chair, thinking I would get it after a round of walking. * * * * I watched Sport for signs of irritation or discomfort. Nothing. He was happy. Before we made it half way around the arena, I could not resist and asked him to step up into the trot. He started to march forward. I felt his back end drop and his front end lift. 3 strides in and I was wearing a grin usually reserved for lottery winners. I have no explaination why it is as easy to trot aside on Sport as it is on Jose except to tell you that this is yet another part of the gift and a sure answer to my prayer. We proceeded to slow gait, rack and canter in both directions...all without my cane. * * * * I can tell that I need to perfect my communication skills with Sport without the right leg aid, but this test was over the top successful. One day...and hopefully one day soon, I will ride Sport at the World Championship Horse Show in Louisville, KY.!! I am realizing a dream I have had since I was a child. God brought me to this point. He gave me all the tools, has opened up avenues through the horses, this blog and friends I have made and I know in my heart He will see me through to the end only to open up more doors full of blessings and dreams fulfilled. * * * * God is no respector of persons.. He loves you just as much as He loves me....if only you will believe in Him.. You cannot imagine the dreams He has for you! I do not ride this twisted around. Leslie was standing bahind me and I turned to look at her when she took the picure.