Some of my readers already know, and maybe remember, that I bought a pony about a year and a half ago named Prince Charming. He's been an interesting pony. Not quite what I was looking for in some ways while exactly what I was looking for in other ways. A picture of me with him is just to the right of this blog. He is a cutey despite his insecurity.
His insecurity has proved very challenging for me. He's not a joy to ride on the trail, but more of a chore. I had wanted to send him to a trail trainer this Fall, but the plans fell through. Instead I made the decision to send him to a show trainer for November and December for him to learn his flying lead changes and other skills which would make him more marketable as a show pony in case I can't solve our trail issues.
Seeing the trainer ride him was a reminder of his athleticism and a lot of the training he already has that I never really use. The trainer has informed me that Prince is incredibly smart (think Border Collie) which explains a lot of the problems I've had with him and the groom adores him there. It's been good for me to see his attributes through others eyes.
Today I had my first lesson on him. I haven't had a lesson in probably nine years and haven't engaged in any serious lesson program in about 15 years. Wow am I amazed at just how much I have forgotten, what came back, and what I was totally perplexed by. I'm sore and have ripped blisters in both of my rein fingers (note to self: remember to wear gloves in the next lesson). But the lesson was great. I felt like Prince and I were really communicating despite my own awkwardness. There's one corner where his insecurity comes out and as I rode we went from having to nervously sidle away (inside leg), to looking, to not looking at the corner at all and staying soft and supple.
I'm looking forward to my next lesson and hopefully getting to understand and communicate with him better. On a side note: his flying lead changes are coming along nicely with the trainer. Not so much with me, I had a hard time getting him balanced correctly and think I might have actually set him back. But he did try for me despite my awkwardness and mistimed cues.