Trail Ride

Yesterday I went out to the Brezinas, and had a fantastic Indian summer ride on Aviator.  We took Aviator, Dillan and Rory through some of the immaculately maintained private 1,000 acres of trails that their neighbor owns.  I did trails a few times growing up, but most of the time when I was on a trail, I was running with my own two feet instead of on horseback - and don't get me wrong, trail running is still my favorite kind of running.  There's just something about cantering up and down the huge (to me, from flat Southern Illinois) hills.

Things I love about Aviator after having ridden him on trails:
- His walk.  He has this big, forward, lovely walk that puts the other ponies away.  I know the Dressage people are always talking about how you can improve the other gaits, but the walk is what it is to a certain extent, and I like the fact that I don't have to push.  Granted, he did become a push ride after we'd done some cantering and we were going away from home, but it was hot and he's got his winter coat, plus if I had a crop and some time we'd fix that.

- His canter.  Talk about a couch ride.  His trot is enormous, but very easy to sit, and his canter is even easier.  It's so smooth, but you're really getting somewhere with it.

- His independent streak.  I swear I heard him yell, "BUT I DON'T WANT TO STOP HERE!" a time or two.  I made him, of course, and he listened, but he didn't want to.

- His reactiveness.  Even if he doesn't know what you're asking, he always does something in response to your cue.

- His surefootedness.  Yes, I'm comparing him to his brother, the pony that has no idea where his feet are, but he successfully navigated walking through a fallen tree and up and down all of these leaf-covered trails.  I was impressed.

He's still very green and doesn't use himself as well as he should, but during transitions he would pick himself up and lift his back and round up for a split second, and I felt his power well up underneath me like an explosion was imminent.  It never was, but knowing that was there makes me want to see what he would do with some good training.

I also wonder how he'd be if he were a few pounds lighter.  Currently he's a 5.5 or 6 on a body condition score because that's what they show the Cobs at.  He's powerful, excited about life and reactive, but there's a lazy streak under there.  Would it be minimized if he were fit?

So many questions...but the answers won't matter until I get a job.

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