Gem and I celebrated our first anniversary yesterday! Yay! I can't believe it's been a year...it has flown by!
STA was my sanity check when I was looking for my new companion. If it wasn't for her, Gem and I would not be partners. I took her for lunch yesterday to celebrate and spent a lovely afternoon (yes, we left the restaurant at 4:30 pm!) laughing and talking about my "ah ha" moments over the last year. There were quite a few firsts and milestones for me as a new owner and rider.
The first time I got on Gem and didn't hyperventilate because of his height.
The first time I actually understood what "easy keeper" meant and was thankful that Gem is.
The first time I realized that my right leg was easily clearing Gem's back when I mounted and dismounted. A far cry from when I first started riding.
The first time I was able to pick up the 75 lbs. (OK! It's only 35 lbs!!) Western saddle, lift it up over my head and place it on Gem's 16.2hh frame without causing bodily injury to either one of us. :-)
The first time I was coordinated enough to have his bridle hooked on one arm, take off his halter and hook it on the other arm and then put on his bridle smoothly and without coordination problems.
When I taught Gem to wait so he didn't push me through openings. He now "waits" in middle of the arena so I can tidy up before we go back to the barn.
When it became natural to have my heels down in the stirrups.
The first time I rode by myself in the arena and wasn't afraid.
The magic I feel when we are both connected and our session is fluid and "on".
Understanding and loving that he has a goofy side to his personality.
How pleased and proud I was when Gem didn't freak out on me when another horse struck out and bit him on his side as I was hand walking him.
Realizing his 18-wheeler size and accommodating it.
The first time I loped and even though I was terrified, I knew that I wanted to feel that thrill again.
The first time I steered Gem using my legs only.
The first time I knew what it felt like when he "gave" on the bit.
The first time I actually trusted myself and Gem enough to go on a trail ride with other boarders.
The first time I recognized how Gem's power felt under me as I rode.
The first time he recognized his name when I called.
The first time I realized that patience was going to be my biggest challenge.
The first time he lowered his head to my chest, closed his eyes and dozed off as I rubbed his chin.
The first time I realized that he knew he was smarter than me, but he chose to be patient with me.
I love him.