Ladd was getting some time off, and so -- as the subject line suggests -- I found myself back on 'my' horse this week. Roman was extremely affectionate while being groomed... nuzzling, head-butting, being playful and generally trying to generally stay close. (If I moved to one side of the box-tie I usually groom Roman in, he'd try to move to that side, too.) I found myself grinning and dancing along with the music on the radio as I did so, which prompted a laugh from our current stable helper. ("Everyone has at least one horse...")
We groomed in plenty of time, and got out into the ring. Took me a little bit to remember how to make Roman go /consistently/, but soon enough we were trotting around. While the instructor worked with my classmate, I got to work on two-point, and also on steering without stirrups. General flatwork practice, really.
Roman is the first horse I've ridden, then gone to other horses for a long stretch and then come back to. As such, for the first time I really notice some of the changes. Once I found my place on him, I could tell my two-point is greatly improved. As is my leg/foot position. I can also consistently keep Roman moving without huge effort now (even if he /does/ require a constant sort of 'gas pedal,' or he will simply slow down). However, I had to kind of re-learn his trot pace, since he's taking it faster with me now. Still, after about one lap of 'wait, what?' as I readjusted, we were doing fine.
Then it was on for something new... trying to canter Roman. I asked the instructor if there was anything I should know. She mentioned that, a) Roman has a tendency to start on the wrong lead going left, same as Banjo (albeit not quite as pronounced), and b) if you do not force him to actually canter at a proper speed, he has the world's least comfortable canter.
Hoo boy, she was not kidding. I got him cantering fine, but not quite to speed, and YEEGH MY GOD I felt like I'd been put in a drinks-mixer. It's not an unridable canter, but it's certainly an uncomfortable one. On my last two rounds, I did get him up to speed; at speed, he's got a pretty nice canter when you get him all the way up. I did not manage an entire lap in either direction without him dropping to the trot, though; he's veeeeery happy to slow down with even the slightest excuse, and I'd gotten used to Ladd (who's pretty sensitive), so just could not remember to keep the canter pressure sufficient for Roman. Of course, as soon as he dropped to trot, I remembered, but by that point, he'd dropped to trot!
After cantering, I did a trotting demonstration to show visually what diagonals are. It's the first time I've been an example, whee! Then, while my classmate (who had had to wait while I cantered) worked on learning his diagonals, I got down and walked Roman around to cool him off for the last 8 minutes or so. He stopped, and when I turned around to see why, I got a big horsie-hug.
Post-ring grooming, Roman was kind of mouthy. This isn't a huge surprise; he'd reach out and go 'blobbablobbablob' with his lips against my arm, then look longingly at the jar of horse cookies. Then 'blobbablob' drool all over me again. This being the first time it was warm enough for my summer riding outfit (i.e., t-shirt instead of my Spruce Meadows pullover), I was nicely coated in Roman-drool by the time I finished. But Roman was content; he got his coat treatment to make him all pretty, AND he got his horse cookie.
Cleaned tack, and talked to the instructor about a few things. Also heard from my classmate that he's looking at buying a thoroughbred he found, a big nearly-17-hand one he found for $3000. (My classmate is a very tall person, so even though he's a beginner, he likes the idea of having a horse he knows would be able to carry him. He does seem to be pretty serious, too; he's riding twice a week and signed up for hack sessions, too.)
Me, I talked to the instructor about riding twice a week starting next month. I think I'd do that for a bit, and then half-lease Roman. Not that I don't want to own a horse, 'cause I really, really do. But I think I should take it slower, since I don't even own a /house/ yet, and there's part of me that still goes 'I WANNA FARM!' :)
After everything was cleaned, I went to feed the troops. Roman got his treats and I got another hug (and then was promptly ignored in favor of food when he realized I'd brought the GOOD apples: Braeburns instead of golden delicious), and the usual suspects (Coalby, Chester, Banjo, Jasper and Ladd) got their treats. I swear, eventually I'm going to just start bringing more and more apples...
Now I've been napping on the couch with a puppy asleep on my foot. Soon, I shall go sleep. But I feel better than usual; I didn't just ride, which is always good, but I rode /my/ horse. And that's even better. :)
Hrm. I guess that didn't end up being short...