Aviator

I'm falling in love...but not with Shae. I already did that.

I'm falling in love with Shae's older brother, Aviator. I rode him last May on the trails, when he'd only had five rides, and in an Australian saddle with stirrups that were way too long for me. It was a fabulous ride, and I liked the cheeky pony, but I didn't get too good of a feel for him. Riding was too new for him still, I think.

Last week, though, I rode him at Bannockburn for probably two hours when Lisa and Mandy trailered in Manny and Aviator. First of all, my new saddle fit him absolutely perfectly, which was awesome. We rode them for about an hour in the arena, and it was the first time the three of them (Ffame was there as well) had been in an arena with other horses before - and mirrors! Aviator hollered at himself every time he saw himself in the mirror. He probably thought he was his brother, Dillan. After he got used to that, though, he was so awesome! He is still green, but is a thinking ride and a very responsive ride.

I also took him over his first fences with a rider on his back. This is a pony that jumped - from a standstill - over the dutch door of his stall, and jumped out of an outdoor arena during a sales video. He's a cocky dude with athleticism to spare, and yet I had to cowboy up to just to get him over this 6" cross rail. Why? Because he didn't think it was worth his time. He trotted over it every single time. We didn't have much room to get him going since the indoor is a small Dressage arena, either.

Next, we did two laps around one of the the HUGE hilly hayfields at Bannockburn. When we were just walking, he was forward, alert and really motoring with no help from me. I love that. One of the things I have never liked about Shae is his lazy walk. His trot and canter are wonderful, but I have to work so hard for that walk. When we were cantering, he kept his mind the entire time, though he was clearly overjoyed to be doing what we were doing: he put his head down and threw a leg out with excitement. I just laughed. And when we were standing, he wasn't moving around, but he was pawing the ground with impatience. I love that.

I love his fire, his spirit and his cockiness. I love his size, bone and movement. I love the fact that he is game for anything, but is so much happier doing exciting things like being outside. Lisa thinks he'll do arena work, but he needs variety and excitement to be content. Ponder...

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