Harley went off to a friend's in Louisiana for a month. It was refreshing. She was delighted with how he moved, found him lazy behind, suggested he needed work on strengthening his stifles. When I returned back to pick him up, I found him sensitive, reacting well to my leg and seat, and I cantered him lightly with confidence.
He hasn't bucked.
He hasn't thrown a fit.
He was dragging his left rear toe a bit, but seems to have quit after a nice hoof trim (that was beyond overdue for reasons I don't even understand).
Mo, has been Mo. After checking my copy of his papers, I realized the sweet old man is 19. Not 17. 19 freaking years old. I see no need to force him into anything, so we end up walking around a lot, and trotting a bit, to keep his mind on something. One afternoon, the neighbor's cows were walking across their pasture. Mo perked up. I walked him to their fenceline, when a very large bull approached the herd. I was focused on a grey calf. Mo? He and that bull were having themselves a stare-down. The bull didn't budge, and Mo would step forward every minute or two, just a step. Finally the bull sighed, took a step back, and wandered off. The entire herd followed him, and he made certain that not one cow or calf were left behind.
Harley doesn't spook now when the cows wander down the fenceline. In fact, he glances at them, and goes back to work. I've been in the endurance saddle, and the 3ring combo myler bit.
And when I'm ready to get back in the dressage saddle, I will. Until then, we're good like we are.
I've burned out on lessons. And shows. That one damn show where the barn owner felt it necessary to say "I don't ride well. My hips aren't centered, and I've messed up my horse in such a way that only "she" can fix him" really pisses me off. I'd boarded Harley at her place while I traveled for work. I'd scheduled my life for shows that were at that barn. Just to have one day he backs off the trailer lame, and then be attacked for "not knowing how to ride".
So if staying at home, in the arena I'm comfortable in, suits us, then great. Until I feel like going back there, and flipping her the bird in a blue ribbon with pride, screw it. :)
Harley seems to like cows anyways.