A Goodbye Ride

Anne met me this morning for a dressage lesson- dressage saddle and fat bit and all. G wasn’t at her best, but she did pretty well for having zero serious work in two weeks. We worked on halt/trot and trot/halt transitions, which seemed to fry G’s brain after a few minutes. She frequently tries to zoom backwards after halting; I guess this is a thing in hunter classes. We had a couple of nice transitions and she was really reaching for the bit today. Progress! 

After I finished, Anne hopped on. My self-proclaimed weenie of a trainer took the big mare for a lovely trot. I really enjoy watching Anne ride; she’s excellent, and it’s helpful to see what G should look like. And it’s always nice to admire her big floaty trot. Anne dismounted and as we discussed Gina’s progress over the last few months, my boss and the program’s director, Jenn, approached us. 
A few words about Jenn: Jenn is an absolutely lovely lady and very possibly the best boss in the entire world. She suggested I work with G my first day on the job. She listened to me gush about what a talented and amazing horse Gina is with a smile. She lobbied hard for me to be able to buy Gina from the program when it seemed like the university wanted to snatch her away to an auction. Jenn is a fantastic person. Unfortunately, she’s leaving this week for reasons pertaining to her family. I am very sad to see her go. 
Jenn asked, a bit wistfully, if she could ride Gina one more time before she left. I always forget that before I arrived, Jenn and Shari, the program’s equine coordinator, rode G here and there, assessing her capabilities and suitability for use as a therapy horse. When I first started my job, Jenn had told me she’d enjoyed riding G, but always felt she wasn’t quite the right rider for her. (Shari told me she didn’t trust Gina as far as she could throw her, haha!) 
I happily handed the reins to my boss. With a huge smile on her face, she sat astride my big mare while G walked briskly around the arena. Jenn asked her to pick up a trot and G obediently obliged. It was positively heartwarming to see how much enjoyment both horse and rider were experiencing. I was proud of my horse for her good behavior, and thankful that she didn’t pull anything stupid. After a few minutes, Jenn dismounted, thanked me, and handed the reins back. She had said goodbye.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget my successes with Gina are really everyone’s successes. Jenn introduced me to this special mare and was a huge supporter from day one. Anne has invested hours of her time into helping me ride at my best and helping Gina be less of a spaz. Johnny helped me purchase her and never complains about the amount of time I spend riding. The student workers- Katie, Tabitha, Kelsey- can always be counted on to give her a once-over on their morning rounds, making sure she’s in one piece. Shari feeds her when I’m not there and is sure to tell me she’s proud of me at every opportunity. Without everyone’s help, I wouldn’t even have Gina, and we certainly wouldn’t have come so far in seven months. 
And I’m so, so grateful for their help. 

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

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