The best part about picking up a half lease is having the option to ride without supervision. All of my riding since my return has been under the watchful eyes of an instructor. Even the trail ride I went on this weekend was led by an instructor. It was a really nice walk in the woods with a visiting rider that was on vacation (named Katie from Minnesota, what are the odds?!) and I rode a fantastic pony named Juice, but it felt weird to have a teacher with me. It's been a long, long time since I got instruction on a trail.
But with the pen to paper on the lease, I am a loose caboose! I think it's an important part of building my relationship with Papa. I took some extra time in the grooming today and discovered that he loves to have his ears curried. Not just the outside, but the inside as well. His head was hanging, his eyes half closed, and he was practically moaning once I discovered how much he loved having the insides of his ears rubbed with a small curry comb. When I finally stopped he stood there with his head down and eyes unfocused like he'd just had one hell of a good time.
He comes cantering when you call him from the field, drools excessively when eating apples, and likes ginger snaps. He enjoys a neck massage but is not a big fan of currying the belly. Always tighten the girth another hole after mounting because he's a sneaky jerk about that. He understands the idea that he should step off of my leg, but he doesn't seem to realize his body can bend and that his shoulders aren't directly bolted to his hips. He's a bit of a board. His mouth is interesting, he'll start out heavy as hell, braced on my hands, but then he'll go soft and try to figure out why I'm not carrying him. He seeks contact and seems to enjoy riding in a light contact, but he's used to having people carry him around and my complete refusal leaves him a bit out of sorts. He's definitely not the most confident horse I've ever ridden and seems to appreciate a confident, sympathetic ride. He's very fussy about the spur and does not appreciate my Prince of Wales spurs. He responds beautifully to voice rewards, ears flicking back and forth and making it clear that he understands he's done it right.
I'm going to be heading to the tack shop this week to pick up some of those roller spurs. I accidentally dragged my spur while trying to push him over and he certainly made sure I knew he didn't appreciate that. It's not very often a PoW spur is too sharp, but there we are. My tom thumb/bug bites for Fi are too short for a horse that needs a reminder on where the gas pedal is, so it's time to shop! I'll be looking to rebuild my brush collection as well, and possibly get him a long fly mask. The flies just adore him, it's kind of ridiculous.
Not that I really need an excuse to go shopping. I gave Dover Saddlery my new address finally and now the catalogs are coming fast and furious. Riding is so dangerous. It's not the risk of falling off, it's the number of things we need! Well, not need, but want with a burning passion. It's all the same thing. Just don't tell the hubby I'm heading to Dover, it makes him cry a little.