I don't want to curse myself but I think that Carmen is becoming 'That horse' (*hurries off to knock on wood*).
You know what I mean.
That horse that you can leave for a week and then ride.
When the weather changed from hot and humid summer to brisk and cool autumn.
Without lunging. Even though you consider it. Like seriously consider it and then decide that it's too much work.
Although to be cautious you do some ground work first and you walk around the ring to check for trolls. And find potential trolls down by the trees and grasses blowing in the wind.
But you shrug and get on anyway.
Not because you're crazy (the voices assure you that you are fine).
But because you know it will be fine. Not necessarily spook free but still you believe it will be fine.
So you get on and as soon as you settle in the saddle you smile. Because you're home. Where you belong. Riding That horse.
You spend some time at the walk just getting things loose and supple. There's a spooky spot but it's not that big a deal. You can feel that your horse is on edge and could go either way. Which way is up to you. So you sit up and ride. And as you work you get into the feel and rhythm: is the hind foot reaching under? Are we too bent on the leg yield? Can we lengthen a bit? How about a canter depart? Oops that nasty piece of grass totally tried to grab you- let's go back and show it we're not afraid.
And then, because enough has been done in the ring, you drop the gate not really sure that you are going to do it. Like really- it's been a week and it's blowy and cool and still you are thinking that going into the woods would be a good idea?
But Carmen knows and letting her choose she goes to the right towards the woods and around the field. And then to the right into the woods. Just then a bunny hops across the path and she stops- uncertain as to whether it's safe. Or whether we should go back. You let her collect herself and then ask her to walk in because 'it's a bunny and mostly harmless'.
And you walk into the woods and along the trails that you have cut out of the woods- mostly around deadfall, through some mud, by the old spider shed, old wagon and manure pile, out to the fence and back up to the barn. Going uphill Carmen lifts her back and powers up, coming to a halt outside the barn.
You dismount. Still smiling.
Because you have 'That horse'.