Something strange happened today. If you had asked me a year and half ago, I wouldn't have thought it out of the ordinary. But now...
Mother took me onto the barn porch, brushed me off, picked my hooves. She then put the saddle on me. Hmmmm... I have had to wear the driving surcingle a lot this last year, but a saddle? She did put one (or six) on me back in the winter, when she was thinking of taking me to Equine Affaire and I would demonstrate what a travois horse would have looked like. She wanted me to get used to having odd articles on me, around me. One evening she put saddle after saddle after pad after saddle on me until it reached ridiculous heights, and her fellow boarders laughed at me. Hmmph.
Well, a saddle is fine, I guess. Perhaps she is going to ground drive me through the stirrups. She had done that a long, long time ago, before she had the surcingle to use.
Mother then fusses with my bridle, putting my bit on it. What....?
She puts the reins over my neck, asks me to lower my head, and holds the bit up to my mouth. I happily oblige. She adjusts it to fit my head (Hey!! Why is it adjusted for someone else?), replaces my halter, and puts the lunge line on and brings her lunge whip. We head out to the multi-purpose paddock (it used to be an arena, but now the footing is nothing like an arena). We commence lunging.
I am good. Bold. A smidge boisterous for a moment at canter, but I haven't had stirrups to bob about my sides in forever. Sound as a dollar bill... sounder. We only lunge for a few minutes in each direction. Mother has never been real big on making me go in small circles.
We head into the small pasture sans line and halter. She places me near the fence and the step stool thing. She said it was better to not ride in the mountain lion paddock, since I haven't really been ridden up at Aunt Marilyn's mountain hideaway, and in case I did remember anything. She places me near the fence and the step stool thing. She clambers onto it. Why is she way up there? Creepy... yet parts of this feel familiar.
She puts her foot in the stirrup, and I remembered what this was all about!
I stood very still. She swung aboard, her left hand slipping a bit because I no longer have mane to grab (and whose fault is that, anyway?). We strolled in the small pasture for a minute, maybe. We walked out into the back and directly over into the multi-purpose. She had me walk into the center of the paddock, and asked me to stop. She then disembarked. Less than three minutes all together, I bet. Well, that was easy!
I sort of remembered what to do as she asked me to turn in the pasture, or any sort of guiding where I went, but that was a long time ago. I relied on my old tried and true method. If in doubt: STOP. She rode me in a saddle last spring, and a few times in early summer, but then realized I was not quite right. She hopped on me bareback once in all of the second half of last summer, and that was the day before I went down for surgery. Really, much more time has passed since I was last ridden than total time I spent learning to be ridden, so I shouldn't be expected to remember that stuff. It was nice to spend all that time with her again today, though. And I got two Mrs. Pastures cookies after I was untacked and brushed down, as well as my normal little itty bitty cookies before she left. Yumm...
I'm not sure why Mother decided to ride me. I know in the winter my surgeon had said if I seem comfortable enough she could, and that I'd probably enjoy having the personal attention of light riding. Mother says she doesn't expect anything, just would like to walk around for five or ten minutes a few days a week, and she could work on her two-point, too, whatever that is. She says she'll keep a really close eye on how comfortable I look.
So, should I limp (just a little) tomorrow, do you think? I mean, she'll give me cookies either way...