I didn’t blog last week, because my biggest accomplishment with Poet was hand walking him around the property after turnout. This sounds basic, but turnout sometimes reminds Poet that he is a wild, unruly baby dragon. Me time means no rules! Observe.
And of course, that’s fine because it’s what turnout is for (yes, I will have video ready first time he’s turned out in his much much much bigger Texas pasture). However, after I bring him in he often forgets that “me” time is over. I took advantage of a quiet mother’s day at the barn to walk him around all of the post-show setup and work on our manners. Which, after a few laps around the property, were reinstalled enough that I could take these oh-so-flattering pictures of my fancy hunter.
This week, there is a lot more to blog about. Trainers decided it was a good week to focus on riding instead of groundwork, and off they went!
He trotted, he cantered, he turned left (and right!) which is honestly even more exciting than the cantering part. He trotted poles, and he even did a few clean lead changes… although those were certainly not things we asked for.
I went out Friday morning to watch, and grabbed some video clips. It’s really exciting to watch him come along, because during every training sessions I see little glimpses of this fancy hunter I might own one day.
I told my trainer that it feels like I’ve got my hands on something that is either going to be a lovely, lovely show horse for me, or I’m going to completely botch it up and things will end in disaster. Really, I guess that’s any horse, but it the stakes feel higher with a young one. My job right now is to work hard, listen to my trainers, and be patient. You probably don’t have to guess which of those three things is hardest for me.
After my trainer rode him on Friday, I hopped on for a super brief ride of my own. His trot has so much more suspension than Simon’s, which makes me realize how incredibly out of shape I’ve gotten. Pre-graduation comfort meals and time out of the saddle have not been kind to my body.
On Saturday, I met trainer down at the ring for my first lesson on Po po (testing out a new nickname, feedback encouraged). Since turnout tends to make him somewhat feral, I took him straight out of his stall and just hopped on.
Main trainer wants me to always be a few steps behind how the pro rides him. The pro’s job is to push his buttons, correct what needs correcting in order for his education to progress. My job as flabby amateur mom is to ride through concepts he understands. That way we’re both set up for success, and he gets to feel confident in me too.
I love this setup.
So this morning, our lesson was walk/trot in half the ring working on steering. Super exciting, except I’m not being sarcastic. I’m still giddy over it. He’s delightfully sensitive, and pays close attention to everything I do in the saddle. He also pays close attention to stuff going outside the ring, but although it was a busy day and he shied once, he never spooked or did anything naughty. And the down transitions? Oh heavenly hunter down transitions. I think I only had to ask him to slow down maybe twice, and the minute I stop posting in the saddle and start to say ‘Wa—’ he’s already walking happily. Poet, I think you’re going to like the hunters.
So it was a good day, a good week. The next might not be, but that’s okay. I’m slowly (ever so slowly) learning to accept whatever version of my horse I have that day. This week’s version though, was great.