We were flying.
Flying across the ring. Three beats. Ba-da-da. Ba-da-da. Dirt splashing in every direction, his silver shoe studs picking up more with every step. Effortlessly gliding across the ring with his Thoroughbred length stride. We are approaching the final jump in our jumper course. The final jump is stunning, with bright pink standards and orange poles, covered with fake blue flowers. Underneath is a single flower box, with dark green flowers filling the hollowness. I ask him to lengthen his stride, and he does with pride. Nothing but a black and bay blur across the ring. We are running with the wind, faster than the breeze that blows beside us. I try to collect his stride before the jump, but he hesitates. Instantly, I start to panic, not wanting to have a take off horse during our first course together. He wants to grab the bit and take off, but then as I ask him to collect back into a normal speed stride, he beings to gather himself perfectly as though there was never an issue.
Three, two, one, blastoff. His striding is perfect. I get into a perfect fold, and manage to keep my lower leg steady. My release is perfect, keeping just enough contact to maintain a decent speed during landing. He is in perfect form, with his knees tucked perfectly into his small, bay chest, and not letting his cannon bones fall. He has an amazing roundness through his back, making us look flawless. He jumps with such power, throwing us up into the sky, almost as high as the heavens. Two souls riding and working as one in perfect harmony. This is what flying feels like. Gravity pushes us to the ground. We maintain our flawless look, landing with perfect form. He lands amazingly, not letting anyone know of our struggle to bend through the roll-back that we were about to overcome to get to the time laser, which is a fancy way to indicate the end of the course. I ask him to lengthen, and he does with pride. He darts his head forward, as he would in his racing days, despite him being the laziest racehorse in the world, and lengthens into, what feels like, a controlled gallop. I push my weight back, trying to contain my urge to lean forward and let him run. We dart through the time lazer, and I hear the bell ring.
After we left the ring, I pull him into a halt. I give in to my heart, and lean forward to give his big, sweaty neck a hug. I wrap my hands around his neck, and give him a big kiss. We made it. This is all that occupied my mind. Then, my mind starts to be flooded with the fact that my green horse just made it through his first hunter/jumper course. I pull myself back into the saddle, bring him to a halt, and drop my stirrups. I lean forward once again, pull his face towards my leg, and whisper something in his ear, so quiet, in such a hushed tone, that no one would be able to notice. “Good boy.”