Today I passed my Level 4 Rider test. I stayed calm, I remembered the pattern, I gave this big ol' horse enough room to do what he had to do. I had visualized this ride so often, I found myself wondering halfway through if this was real.
Oh yeah. This is real.
It was not perfect. Bo was having issues with the far end of the arena, of course, the end where we start the pattern. I made him stand still (if he moved back, I got him to walk up to where he was supposed to be, until he figured it out) and let both of us chill for a few seconds. I kind of mellowed him out too much... I'm not an aggressive rider to start with. He could have been moving a little more energetically, let's just say that.
All that preparation for a ride that was over in about five minutes. Five very important minutes. And I passed. All that preparation was worth it.
I never like how I look in pictures of me riding, but here I don't care because I look jubilant and relieved! And slightly wilted. It was hot today. Ol' Bo sure cleaned up nice and I got the privilege of riding in the boss's show saddle, which is super heavy and possibly the most comfortable thing I've ever sat in.
When I got home my son was in the back yard fixing a bike he found at the side of the road. (Frugal boy, my Bucky.) He took a picture of me sitting on the back bumper of my truck. I look kind of crazy, and really, really happy eh?