I rode John for the first time in 3 1/2 months last night. Of course it had rained (hard) all day, so all I did was get on and walk up and down the driveway for fifteen minutes. But it is a start, and after the snowy winter we have had, its good to start slow.
When I originally decided to give him three months off (he got an extra two weeks due to bad weather and my busy schedule) I didn't know what to expect when I started riding again. He has never had that much time off before.
I've longed him a few times, I started in the last week in February. I jogged him in hand a few times, partly because he needs exercise (he gained some weight over the winter) and partly because he needs to practice for the vetting process at our competitive trail rides.
Two of my favorite characteristics of Morgan horses are their expressiveness and their ability to surprise you. John was standing on the cross ties in the barn aisle when I came out of the tack room carrying the saddle. His ears were perked forward and the look on his face said, "I was wondering when you were going to find that thing...its about time!" I tacked him up and got on.
We walked through a giant puddle tons of times. We did bending and circles, changed directions and walked figure eights. He pleasantly surprised me by behaving wonderfully for the entire fifteen minutes!
I also rode in my new Tipperary helmet for the first time. The jury is still out on the helmet, it was a bit snug and I could still feel the helmet on my forehead when I took it off. I'm going to play with the padding again and see if I can get a better fit.
Now I just need the mud to dry up so I can get out on a trail.