Today's riding lesson had all of the markers of being a fun and important one. First up, the demo saddle going out for round two and seeing if it was a winner. Today was also forecast to be a lovely day with some clouds and a high of 73. Trainer A texted me this morning to see if I could ride at noon so we could go out in the field and jump mi papi over some of the natural obstacles. Of course I said yes and pulled my jumping vest out of storage.
It's funny, but it felt weird to get my vest out and dust it off. The last time I wore it was when I did the Training level cross country with the Meathead. It was a tough period for me and I had to take some anti-anxiety herbs to help me get around that course. Ben was a saint for a lot of things, but cross country was not one of them. I still get a little muscle weakness thinking about galloping down to that corner and feeling him drop off my aids and dive onto his forehand. When I went back to riding, I didn't intend to go back to jumping and I certainly never wanted to go back to cross country. Theo was supposed to be my dressage partner.
But adrenaline addiction is a hard thing to break and I have been happily jumping in the ring. It doesn't bother me at all. With Theo's little spooky issue and lack of confidence when facing something new, of course we need to get him out and challenge him. It was my idea to have our lesson out in the jumping field. The reality didn't hit me till I got my vest out. I'm back to cross country. I can only hope that it's a smoother trip than what I had with the Meathead.
Armed with the demo saddle, the jump vest, and my resolve to get back out in the open, I retrieved my mighty steed. Lo and behold, it started raining and I noticed something was a bit off when Theo stepped on the asphalt . . .
No front shoes. He managed to pull them both this morning in turn out. He must have heard us planning his jumping and galloping lesson and decided 'well, I'll just take care of that!'. He is out of work until the farrier can come out, hopefully tomorrow. Today was the Fourth of July, so no farrier available.
Papi went back into his field and I grabbed the one and only Miss Thang for my jumping lesson. She recently had a career change from dressage to hunters and it made perfect sense for us to have some quality time together. We did grid work and practiced her stretching out and doing a nice, smooth jump instead of collecting up and launching over things. While Theo is unbalanced from back to front, Miss Thang is unbalanced from side to side. It takes a lot of muscle to keep her steady between the aids unlike Theo, who takes a lot of muscle to keep his shoulders up. My stabilizing muscles are killing me now, but we had a good ride.
I do think Miss Thang and I would have eventually learned to work together well, but even Trainer A seems to prefer the way Theo and I work together. We just jive well and that's not true for everyone that rides him. He has a long list of riders that have fought him and either lost or ended up hating him. He's an opinionated pony. I recently discovered that there are specific people he can't stand and will try to bite if he thinks they're not looking. I'm taking it as a compliment that when he sees me, I get cuddles instead of being nipped. I don't think he's in any danger of losing me to the beautiful warmblood mare, even if he does completely disrupt our plans by losing his shoes. We'll just try again in our Tuesday lesson.