Still unaware of my test scores, but feeling generally happy about how the day had gone, I asked Ransom to work for me just a few more minutes.
We went to the backside of the arena, off from the gates, away from the crowds, while nobody else was moving their horses in the warm-up arena. Far off in my mind from everybody else. I saw Jen still had her camera in-hand, so I knew I'd get to see how it looked later.
We picked our space. I asked for trot, and trotted a circle or two to "decide where I'd go and when I'd turn."
And I asked for canter-left. Solid transition. There was a long mirror at that end of the arena, and I got to glance at it a few times. Sweet! Ransom looked awesome! I was leaning a bit forward, but managed to keep with him, feet stayed in the stirrups, I stayed on contact, and he looked just fanastic! Cantered a few big circles left, asked for transition down to trot, which he immediately cooperated with.
Then I thought... Do I stay in trot, or give him a walk break? Well, if I give him a break at walk, he'll think he's done, and I could have trouble with canter-right. Ah, it's just a few more minutes. Let's stay in trot, change direction, ask for the canter-right, and do it before he realizes it's almost over.
And we did. As I asked for canter-right, he hardly even lifted his head, right into a gorgeous working canter. I glanced in the mirror again, found myself solid in my seat, back upright & straight, and him completely collected & gorgeous. As I saw later in some pictures Jen took, he was covering some ground, huge long strides. Still, his canter was fantastic! A blast to ride.
We cantered some circles, transitioned down to trot, and walked it out. Ransom received lavish praise for his final "act", and for staying calm. Reconsidering the ride, I don't even remember getting nervous or thinking, "Geez, what's gonna happen?" It was just fantastic. We had a ton of fun.
Took all back to the trailer, where all four of us drank, I snagged a snack, and Ransom got a hose-down. He was gross, sweaty, and nasty. I felt about the same.
A nice peaceful drive home, decent lunch break (nothing fantastic, as I didn't want to leave Ransom cooking in the trailer), and a good day overall.
A wonderful start to the partnership with my new horse!!