I did it again! I rode the beast this evening after a good groundwork session. Rugby seemed in a mellow mood even as I was grooming him but I decided to be thorough and do good groundwork first. He was very willing and unconcerned about all the noises coming from the other side of the fence in the restaurant parking lot.
When the time came to switch the rope halter for the bridle, he just put his head down and cooperated. Then I gently brought him to the mounting block, and slowly mounted up. He was fine. Off we walked and did lateral flexing and a little backing and I let him cruise around at the walk. (and I find it amusing that he likes to walk through the groundpoles, even when I let him choose where he wants to go. I am guessing this guy is going to like jumping when we get there!)
It was all good! No fear.
I tried to recall all the work from my lesson on Thursday. How I did about an hour of groundwork before we attempted the riding. How T.S. set him up before he mounted Rugby. How he connected the feel of the bit with moving the body and how he did not mount first without laying his body across the saddle and rubbing Rugby's opposite shoulder, then when the response was inviting, he swung his leg low and over Rugby's back and into the saddle. Then T.S. proceeded to ask Rugby to begin lateral softening. How he exaggerated his movements on the reins to teach and to soften and give with each try.
T.S. must have ridden him for almost 45 minutes before I got on. And after watching him, all my fear melted away. T.S. had to leave promptly at 6:30PM and asked how I felt about riding. I told him, let me ride while he was still there. He smiled and we switched. And he held Rugby for me to mount up, for the first time in about 2 months. It was so good to ride my horse again. We are to work on our walk for the next month. T.S. will come back and we will move up to trotting.
I love Rugby. I'm also not as sorry for the experience that led to this. I have gained so much, most importantly a level of communication and a relationship with this horse that I feared I might not find. I'm also glad to have been referred to T.S. and I am grateful for his help.
So, it's time to introduce him by his real name. My trainer is Tony Simonetti. Here is his information Natural Horseman Tony Simonetti and here is his webpage L.I. Horse Community If you read his testimonials, mine is right at the top from the first time Tony came to work with us.
It's been a good weekend.