If I had any remaining doubts that Aana would take good care of my impaired daughter, they were now gone. Lindsay had reacted to her loss of balance by grabbing at the reins. The mare responded appropriately by not screeching to a halt at the rude intrusion to her mouth. As Lindsay fell forward that pressure was gone but the mare came down to the walk as Lindsay grabbed her neck. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
I wasn't ready to set the pair loose yet but it was clear that Aana could be trusted on the lunge line. For me that was a huge relief. Lindsay does a lot of work on this farm helping me with my dream. I was glad I could help her work towards hers.
Lindsay was not deterred at all by the failed trot. She wasn't ready to try it again but she wasn't finished riding yet.
When Lindsay had asked for the trot, Aana had moved closer towards me so when she broke down to the walk she was halfway between the rail and my position in the middle. That meant Lindsay needed to head her horse back towards the rail so she had room to maneuver.
This time Aana did not hesitate. She turned and moved to the rail as Lindsay asked. From there Lindsay worked on changing directions, stopping, and backing, honing skills she hasn't used in years.
By this time I was exhausted. My knees were shaking and my pain rising but I was determined that Lindsay would decide when to quit. Just about the time I was hitting the point I might need to reconsider, Lindsay spoke up and said she wad tired and wanted to stop.
I sighed in relief. I was beyond done but I didn't have to end my daughter's first ride on her horse. I was grateful for that and for the positive experience this had been for Lindsay and Aana.
Lindsay's legs were so weak she had trouble dismounting. Her leg got stuck on the mare's croup but Aana stood like a rock. She didn't even flinch when her girl thumped to the ground. She just stood there patiently waiting to see what came next.
Aana was dialed into her role and it didn't stop when Lindsay hit the ground. The mare was locked in on Lindsay. The expression on her face was soft and devoted. Everyone looking on saw it. Aana had eyes for Lindsay and Lindsay only. As far as the mare was concerned no one else existed. Even as we went back to the barn to unsaddle the mare, Aana's stayed focused.
Rhet screamed at her when she was turned right towards him to position her in the aisle to be cross tied but the mare didn't even notice. Normally she'd have stressed over such an advance but with Lindsay there she must have felt safe.
The whole time we worked to untack and groom her, Aana watched Lindsay, never once breaking her gaze or flicking an ear away from my daughter. When we were finished, Lindsay took her out of this barn and back to the pne she lives in.
The mare's head was low, eyes soft and her face had that look Arabian horses are known for when they are with their person. It was that same look that Legs had given to me back in February when I was determined to ride. It was the look of a babysitter horse determined to take good care of her/his person.
It was a good day.....