After several months of working with Paris on the ground, having a few setbacks, and working our way back up again, it was time to finally sit on Paris for the first time.
This photo looks like I'm calm and relaxed, above. And I am. After working with her for so long, I felt I knew her well enough and trusted her to be able to handle this for her first time. Erin, who was my groundperson, was a nervous wreck - but she did a marvelous job helping!
Special thanks also goes out to one of my riding students, Marissa, who took these photos and helps me out at Akindale from time to time.
This was a really important moment - putting my weight across her back, testing the water, and basically making a ruckus on her back - tapping the saddle, flapping the stirrup leathers...and as you can see, she was interested but relaxed.
And I'm on! Honestly, it felt like I was on top of the world. She took everything in stride, accepting my weight, my words and my signals. Erin helped her along in case she got confused or startled - she is quite big and therefore, really strong!
For the last few moments, Erin was able to let me cue Paris through my hands and legs, which she responded to brilliantly. She's a smart cookie, our Paris.