Checkers appears to be scaling back to the little kids and walk/trot, so meet Raleigh, my new ride on Saturdays:
|Sweetest guy ever|
Raleigh is a 1/4 percheron/TB cross, a cross I'm super familiar with because Lainey had the same breeding. His legs are just as crooked as the picture shows, he's got sarcoids all over him and a terrible clip job, yet he's still a handsome boy. He's also a total dude. You know the kind: super laid back and easy going, the guy who gets along with everyone and cruises through life happy as can be.
He's all over a lot bigger than Ms Lainey and even Ginger - I felt like a midget on him. My lesson started off slow, in every sense of the word. The Dude needed to be convinced a shuffling jog sort of thing is not a trot. Being the easy going guy he is, he starting moving out and cooperating fairly quickly. The huge surprise with this guy is that he can MOVE. Seriously, you'd never guess it to look at him, but there is a dressage worthy trot and canter hiding in there - once you get him forward, he naturally comes up off his forehand, and WOW - the only horse I've ridden that compares is a friend's ex Grand Prix schoolmaster. He's not that fancy, but close. I think that once upon a time, someone spent a lot of time training this guy. I tried my best to sit that big movement well.
Later in the lesson, the very best thing in just about forever happened. I trotted a bit through the lines I wasn't sure of, and had a couple of sticky moments, then went back and cantered the entire course and I HAD FUN. So much fun, that on the last line where I could have done a conservative 5, I went for it and did a forward 4 to the biggest vertical - the one making me nervous earlier in the lesson. That's NOT me at all :) It's so silly to admit, but I get a little choked up and emotional thinking about it (happy tears!), because it's been years, probably since my first pony, where I've had that feeling where it's all just plain fun and there are no worries at all. I had to work to get the lines and distances, and my position sucked at times, but The Dude put in an A+ effort and didn't even think about letting me down - more importantly I didn't chicken out and let him down either.
It's still a little intimidating to me to tack up and ride a different horse so often, especially when I feel like I'm being pushed a little beyond my comfort zone in the lessons. It's a little unnerving on my own horses to tackle new things, and even more so on a new ride. The great thing that I'm hoping will come out of this are more rides like today's, where I just have sit back, have fun, and roll with what the day brings.
Come to think of it, I need to do that in all aspects of my life ;)