November 29, 2011

First Ride at the Barn

I have to admit it, I actually had tears in my eyes when I was riding Contender in the indoor tonight.

The $500 Ebay'ed Beval Devon 2000 fits him, and me, perfectly.
That movement.  That attitude.  That soft mouth and sensitivity.  That braveness toward things he was unsure of, like the jumps stacked in the corner.  That ride made me feel like everything I've done in my equine life up until this moment has prepared me for this pony.  I'm absolutely taken with him, and I am so glad that I have him in a place where a talented trainer can help me not ruin him.

I don't want to make it sound like my overarching goal is negative, but one of the main reasons I am so relieved to keep him at my barn is that I'm afraid of ruining the training he's had so far.  I value that soft mouth and quick reflexes like gold, and I want to encourage that sensitivity, not destroy it as I'm sure I would on my own, with mixed signals and uncertain cues.  With my trainer, I can overcome that.

Ponies in horse coolers, always a barn favorite.
Tonight was just an introductory ride.  He's out of shape and hairy (though the hairy part is changing as soon as my blanket comes in!), and the arena footing can be a bit deep in places.  We did about 25 minutes or so of walk and trot, on the bit and on loose reins, hard work and conditioning work, which is hard in a different way.  Just one half lap in each direction at the canter, because by then he had sweated into a lather on his chest, and I knew it would be a long cooling out session.

I've never had to consider a long-term training plan before, and I'm interested to set goals with my trainer and see where I see myself going.  Is B/N next summer a safe goal for he and I?  I'm not sure yet, but I'm glad I have someone to bounce that off of.

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