I had my first dressage lesson at Willow Tree, which is also Billy’s new barn. More on Billy later. I groomed and tacked up my trainer’s horse, Breezy, who is a Hanoverian/paint cross gelding. A horse with lovely ground manners and a very friendly attitude. He also turned out to be a great teacher’s aide! As my shortcomings were pointed out to me and I worked to correct them, he gave me constant feedback simply by adjusting his balance, forwardness and impulsion. Both of us worked really hard for an hour, and besides correcting my faults I also learned a couple of new things–how to back a horse without pulling on the reins, and how to push a horse into the reins for a turn instead of pulling the reins into the turn. As a bonus, when the lesson was over my trainer said, oh, just take him out on the trail for a while and relax! What more could a rider want???
After the trail ride I went outside to see how Billy was doing. I hadn’t seen him at all up to that time because he was already turned out when I got there and I had to get ready for my lesson. I took a couple of peppermints out with me. He was at the hay rack along with his former enemy, the black pony. Both were munching away, peacefully. When I called to him from some distance away, he looked up, but he wouldn’t come to me until he heard the crinkle of the peppermint wrapper. That is just so-o-o-o Billy! He did remember that he had to give me a kiss before he would get any treats. He accompanied me back to the gate (probably thought I had more treats, but no such luck), got a drink and without even so much as a good-bye moseyed back out to the hay. I would say he has adapted pretty darn well to the outdoor life!