After all our trouble with confidence this winter, I think the long hours of grooming and groundwork and boring schooling drills are finally starting to pay off for Magic and me.
It’s not easy to see. Obviously, he looks a lot better on the flat than he used to; but his jumping is pretty much the same. He is a little more sensible about it, but can still do the weirdest things in midair (see below), and we’re still toodling around 70cm verticals. I’m not as all over the place on him as I used to be, but I still look like I’m levitating above him over the jumps instead of staying with him.
But it all feels so different. When I go to catch him now he comes to me with bright eyes and an expectant (adorable) little nicker. After I’ve ridden him he likes to hang out with me, just grazing around me until I leave, then he trots off to join Skye on whatever mission she’s accomplishing. Best of all, I think I’m finally learning to ride him; he doesn’t do the jackhammer-trotting-giraffe-head thing so much anymore. If I have a slip-up and bump on his back by accident he doesn’t panic anymore, and if he makes a mistake and overjumps something I can stay so much calmer than I used to. There’s a connectedness between us now, in the way we move around each other. It’s hard to explain, but I finally feel like he really is my horse.
Unfortunately, having a better bond does not immediately result in better technique. We have moments of sheer awesomeness, and then we have moments of epic fail. Frankly, we look horrible. But we’re finally learning to enjoy each other, and that’s what it’s all about.