My lesson this past week on Champ was FAN-freaking-TASTIC! Although our flatwork was pretty terrible, I managed to get through the eventing Novice A dressage test. It was pretty ugly, I am sure, but we'll get there. I need a dressage whip, for sure. Champ spent a lot of time in the hunter ring, and I think he thinks the ring routine consists of warmup-jump-jump-jump-leave. Yeah, not so much, buddy. Kathy, my instructor, wants me to alternate riding her Hanoverian mare, Landie, and riding Champ for my lessons, so I can really work on my seat and aids for dressage with an experienced, forward-moving horse, and then get my jumping confidence and skills back with Champ, who is so easy to jump.
We've figured out that he seems to be the kind of horse to 'test' people a little bit, because he kicked out a couple times when being groomed, but once someone held a crop near him, he knocked that off right away. Same with ring work. He needs a long warmup period of trotting and walking to really get in his groove, but he can get up and go when he wants to. I think he and I may be having some discussions this winter about who decides what the work will be and how we do it.
I really want to buy him a new halter, in green, which I think looks so fabulous on chestnuts. I'm also shopping around for a new square saddle pad in either green with black trim and white piping, or black with green trim and white piping. Black, green, and white are my riding colors.
I'm starting to feel completely sucked back into life with horses. Maybe in the spring we will lease Champ, if the finances work out right and we can swing it. The only way I am going to have a horse of my own is if more than one person in the family can ride him or her. Champ is good for that, and with the better weather and more light in the evenings coming up in a couple months, I think three rides a week is a distinct possibility. We'll see. I don't want to get my hopes up too much. There's really no rush, I keep telling myself.
But, oh, it's so wonderful to be back in the barn regularly, to do the work, and ride, and spend time with people who love horses, too. And I am thrilled that my girls, and possibly my son as well, are loving it all with me. Noah even led Champ in from the field the other day (with supervision and help, of course). Naturally, I didn't have my camera in my pocket.
I did manage to snap this photo, though, right before my lesson last Wednesday.