Saturday, I had my first lesson since my vacation, and yet another new horse to ride. I've lost track of how many this makes it - just when I think there can't possibly be any others, another name appears next to mine on the whiteboard. I'm starting to get paranoid there is something wrong with me, since the other riders usually have the same horse, sometimes for months, if not years. At any rate, the name said "Pedro", and I was half expecting a little quarter horse, like the only other Pedro I know. This Pedro is a dark bay warmblood type, probably in his late teens. Looks wise, think Lainey, only a bit taller and wider. I didn't think to take a picture, so you'll have to trust me that he is a handsome hunk of a guy, and apparently was quite something in his day.
I feel like I didn't ride my best in the warmup- he's a big, bouncy kind of guy and I had to really focus on sitting deep and relaxing my lower back to ride that trot well. His canter is of course, gorgeous, but he felt...big. I've heard some barn gossip that he's not the easiest ride, confirmed by his trying to spook at the jumps as we rode past and generally testing every little bit of me, like not wanting to go forward, then of course being too forward, then ignoring my inside leg, then the outside, then randomly trying speeding up and slowing down. As my British stepdad would say, "taking the piss" :) Checking out our little jump course, my nerves came back in full force, to the point I felt physically ill before our round. A mix between wanting to vomit and/or cry in frustration over it all, really. I waited until the last turn so I could mentally regroup and silently apologize to Pedro for my nerves, and ask him to take pity on me and look after us both. Silly, I know, but it did make me feel better, and the thought of not jumping never actually crossed my mind. Thankfully, Pedro came through for me and babysat me through the course twice. The coach had several compliments for me regarding my riding, but really, Pedro was doing it all and making me look good. He got a little frisky on the final line and tried to throw in a buck (again confirming the barn gossip), but I felt it coming and stopped it before it really happened. Pedro was all "ha ha, just testing" and continued on like a star. Once you aim him at a jump, he's all business - it's the inbetween part that can get a little "fun"
Overall, a lesson I enjoyed, but a little nerve wracking - we explored all those shades of grey falling between supreme confidence and outright panic, but ended on a really happy note. Once again, I'm left looking forward to my next ride :)