But the artsy side of me realized that the light presented a great photo opportunity.
Last night was also the night of a test ride to see how sore Lim was, if at all. The plan was to evaluate her from her back, and if she was okay at the walk but not the trot, then I would stick to a walk only for the time being.
Well, when I got on her back, she stepped off into a lively walk right away. Great! After a few moments I asked for a trot, and it was quickly clear that she was not sore at all. If anything, she stepped quick and light, with carefree strength. Maybe a little too much strength, as she would randomly leap into some of her patented acrobatics, her head shaking back and forth in glee. I'm sure that from the ground, she resembled a playful fawn at times, but that was okay!
(I do admit that this behavior and the fact my saddle had just been cleaned made me painfully aware that I could slide right off her back with any unexpected moves).
As the sun dipped further into the horizon and the night chill crept in closer, Lim began to see the boogeyman lurking within the shadows. I finally decided to sit the trot and ask her to collect, which is not typically something I would do after weeks of very few rides. But I had to focus her energy positively and this did the trick. After a 20 minute ride I had her walk out on a long rein. She stretched her neck out and walked quickly (with a minor spook on one turn). I was very, very pleased!
After the ride I let her loose in the arena and took some more photos. One of the barn cats, Mini-Me, decided to join us.
I then took her tack inside and got her stall ready for her. When I was walking back to the arena, I noticed huge clouds of dust rising up into the darkening sky. She was galloping! Sure enough, I saw the blur of her dark form, tail flagged, flying by in the dust and dusk.
You have no idea how good it felt to see her running so freely and without pain! Just for fun, I ran up and down the fence line with her and she followed me--it made me feel a bit like Alec and the Black when they were on the island in The Black Stallion.
Then it was time to go in. I put her halter on and walked her around the arena a couple times to cool her off, and then we went in.