Tucker and I showed today at Sussex and I'll do a more detailed report later this week, but I just have to capture on the blog how over-the-moon-happy I'm feeling right now. [Consider this fair warning: I am about to gush uncontrollably.] My horse was nothing short of perfect today. He was quiet, and focused, and listening, and best of all he got every single lead change that I asked him for! Every single one! In both directions! And they were clean, and easy. We have a lead change!
I continue to be astonished by what an incredible animal he has become. I would say that I'm proud of him, but proud isn't the word. I'm amazed. He is the horse I have wished for my whole life -- he's sensible, smart, athletic, sweet, and affectionate; he's got a great work ethic, he wants to be a good boy, and when I ride well, he wins.
When I took him on as a gangly yearling with a long pencil neck, giant ears, giraffe legs, and an absurdly goofy personality, I had no idea what I'd end up with. I liked him a lot, and I thought he had potential and he'd probably end up being nice, and maybe I'd be able to sell him to help pay off some student loans. Little did I know that he would grow up to be the kind of horse that literally makes me feel like my dreams have come true.
I used to say that I hate horse showing. I would get so nervous and so anxious about what could possibly go wrong that I couldn't even enjoy myself until it was over. But Tucker has become so consistent and so well behaved that I don't even get nervous now because I know he'll be good. I never had a moment today when my heart started pounding or my stomach did a flip or I felt any of those little nervous reactions. It felt just like jumping a course during a lesson: I went in and tried to do all the things we've been working on, my head was clear, I stayed relaxed, and had a plan. Not that I didn't make mistakes! Of course there were a couple, but they were no big deal, and neither of us overreacted. And I did a lot more right than I did wrong today, which counts as a Win in my book.
I am so happy right now that, although I'm exhausted, I don't want this day to end. I knew it was going to be a good day before the sun came up. I hooked up the trailer in the dark and pulled around to the barn, and when I walked in, he was the only horse in the aisle with his head out of the stall. He looked so happy to see me. It seemed like he was looking forward to going wherever we were going. When I walked him out of the barn, he practically dragged me to the trailer. Yes, it was definitely going to be a good day.
Forgive me for sounding like a broken record here (writing yet another post about how amazing he is), but this horse just means so much to me and days like this still amaze me. I never thought I'd have a horse this special. I thought people like me didn't get to have horses like this. Maybe to some people, he wouldn't be anything special. There are plenty horses out there who are fancier than him, and probably some that are easier, and whole herds of horses that win a lot more. But to me, he's just exactly how a horse should be. I feel grateful beyond words that he's mine.