Ben and I have been having fun recently. Nothing spectacular, but it started when I decided to take him to my daughter’s instructor for a lesson. A while ago now, I had a lesson from my regular instructor which left me quite discouraged. Since then, apart from one lesson from a trainer who only occasionally comes our way, we have been riding out regularly but doing nothing else and I did want to get some help with flatwork in order to help Ben strengthen and supple his body and therefore help him carry me on our hacks.
We got on very well with this instructor, who rode Ben and then taught me on Ben and who commented on his sensitivity and lightness. She generally loved him, and possibly as a result, he went very well for her. He is stiff of course, but she pointed to his good medium walk, rhythmical trot and ability to carry himself which will only improve as I become more consistent with my aids, in particular asking him to go forwards from the leg.
Ben seemed very happy too. He loved looking around the stable yard and when the lesson was over I dismounted to put on his renegade boots as I planned to ride out from there with a friend who has just purchased a new, young cob. Ben was more than happy for me to ride him again and strode out leading the way, giving that young cob an ideal steady, reliable lead.
So the fun we have had? In asking for a quicker response from the leg, Ben has responded with alacrity and the experience of riding an eager, forward going cob who has a spring in his step, regardless of pace, is fun. I look forward to more lessons and I appreciate just what a great and versatile horse he is.
This book also celebrates cobs. I could not resist ordering it, particularly when I realised that the author has trained with Heather Moffett. About ten years ago, I was fortunate in spending a weekend with Heather at her yard in Devon and having tuition on a wonderful schoolmaster lippizaner as well as on her equi-simulator. Her methods have remained with me and I stick with them despite the sometimes contradictory instructions I can receive from other trainers. We were living in England at the time and at the end of the weekend Heather said to me that I should stop having lessons and get my own horse and put into practice what I had learned from her. It took a while, but back home in Ireland it happened, first with Mali and now with Ben. I have more time too as my youngest daughter has become slightly more independent since starting school.