So today I am galloping ( yes actually galloping, not loping) along, wind in my hair, concentrating on guiding the little missile known as Remington; circling the arena on the left lead, thinking about breathing, and relaxing my pelvis and lifting the outside and pushing the inside, and looking up...and I head across the middle of the pen and realize that I am heading on the diagonal across the arena- too tight to make the left turn I had planned on, so I straighten his body between my legs and shift my legs- inside leg forward a bit, outside leg back behind the cinch a bit, and I look to the right- to where I'm going and then... there I am.
I'm now loping to the right, on the right lead and making a nice circle, and I'm waiting for the little hippity hop, of the back legs... you know the one. The one where your horse hasn't changed leads properly, so there's a hippity hops with the back legs to catch up- or sometimes a break down and trot a step with a pop into the correct lead on the new circle.... you know, waiting for THAT.
And it doesn't happen.
We are gliding along, galloping on the right lead, and still going about mach one, but he's guiding ok, and I'm sitting back, breathing and my brain is going, "Well shoot- he can't be on the right lead. He's gonna break down any time now," so I go around on the right circle again, a little tighter to force the hippity hop- but we are still gliding along, the wind in our hair.
So I cut across the arena again on a diagonal, and I put my left leg out a little and my right leg back a little and I lift my hand a bit, and keep him between the reins and look up and over and we glide into the next circle, and we are on the correct left lead and my heart is pounding and my mind is blown!
We circle the whole arena again, loping a little slower now 'cuz he's getting tired, and I ask him to slow up and he does, and then I squeeze with my calves and say whoa and he rounds up and gives and comes to a nice easy stop. No elevens, a nice easy stop, complete with a one step back up. And I rub his neck and try not to shout for joy.
And I walk him out and let him breathe wondering how in the hell that happened.
Because I've been riding for over fifty years and I've never had one change as smoothly or as naturally.
My Trainers voice is shouting in my head " I told you this Mutha' is a lead switchin' machina!"
And I recall all the books I've read, and clinics and tapes and videos I've watched about lead changing and how it is done...
And I recall all the hours in the saddle, and all of the different horses I've ridden seeking this... I and now- here it is. Done. By him. Alone. Because he wanted to and could.
Suddenly I feel like I am Bob Fucking Avila, Lynn Fucking Palm, Les Fucking Vogt or Mike Fucking Smith! I feel like "Yeah! I DO know what I want. I did know how to ask! SOMETHING CLICKED! "
Like Dana Device used to tell me, when I doubted- and riding Desi I did doubt- a LOT-
Horses are COOL! Horses are FUN!
7 hours ago