Making the same face in selfies since 2010.
On Sunday afternoon, I wasn't quite sure that I was going to ride. Tentative plans to meet some friends at the horse park had fallen through, there was rain in the forecast, and I was exhausted from having to get up early to work on the day we put the clocks forward. Dino has also been working really hard over the past week or so, and I didn't have any concrete plans as far as what I wanted to practice during our ride.

But after a nap, I made my way to the barn as it started drizzling.

Dino got his usual deep-massage-curry and thorough grooming, and I slathered MTG all over his hellacious rubs and bald spots. He looks absolutely horrendous in the skin and coat department right now, and I'm getting desperate for him to grow some new hair. I hear that Preparation H is great at growing hair back. I may have to run an experiment.

Joy = Nose Rubs
As I got ready to ride and stuffed his cute face with peanuts, I decided that we would do some flatwork by the pond. Just enough to get him working well, and then we would quit for the day.

It's always interesting to go through the process of unlocking Dino's body on a daily basis. The five minute walk down the hill to the pond certainly helps, but there is always a certain amount of tightness to coax him out of, and every day I have to go through the motions of getting him in front of the leg.

During the first several minutes of the ride we worked the walk. Leg yields, turns on the haunches, circles, and free walk helped Dino let go of his body and start moving forward and stepping further underneath himself. He was really into the free walk, and took every opportunity for a deep stretch there. The first few steps of trot were short and shuffling, but since we had taken the time to stretch and bend in the walk, Dino was soon moving forward really nicely in the trot and lengthening and shortening his stride off my seat.

We worked the trot a little bit more, bringing his poll up bit by bit and making the circles smaller and introducing some shoulder-in as Dino became more focused and in front of the leg. After I was happy with the trot, I asked for the canter.

The best word I can use to describe our canter work from Sunday is Joy.

Pure Joy.

With a small swing of my hips, Dino picked up the canter and launched into one of the best, roundest, most glorious canters I'd ever ridden on him. He was light in the bridle, balanced on his haunches, and all I could do was grin from ear to ear. I asked him for a lengthening down the long side of the field, and his withers lifted as he surged forward. I started laughing. Joy! When I brought him back to a working canter, all it took was a small stillness in my seat, a stretching in my upper body, and Dino sat down and dropped it down a notch or two. He felt incredible!

And then we did it AGAIN on the other lead! It was the best canter lengthening and transitions in and out of said lengthening that I've EVER ridden!

I was so full of Joy that I just laughed out loud as I cantered my WonderPony around, feeling for all the world like I was driving a finely-tuned, mind-reading sports car.

I'm glad I decided to ride on Sunday.


  1. Moments like that are why I keep riding. Love, love the adorable pics by the way :)

  2. These pictures melt my stone cold heart!

  3. Always so, so nice to have a joyful ride!

  4. A breakthrough! How wonderful when those happen.

  5. That sounds like such an amazing ride!!

  6. Those moments are my reason for everything. Your joy is contagious through your words!

  7. I just rode that canter with you! Thank you for sharing your joy :)

  8. <3 <3 <3 These are the rides that make all the hard work SO WORTH IT

  9. Ahhh what a good feeling !!! :D

  10. I love when it all comes together!

  11. What a lovely surprise! You and Dino are killing it


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