So there's not a heck of a lot of news to report. Well, that's not entirely true. I guess there's some, but I'm still processing, I guess.
Gator isn't going to work out. Bummer, but for the best. I don't want him to hurt, and I don't want to have a horse I can't ride. Poor guy. I want him to have the perfect home. I really felt like we clicked when I got on. I haven't felt that with another horse yet, but ...
I rode a TB I quite liked the other day, Apollo's Double. He's youngish -- 8 -- and tallish -- 15.3 -- but a very nice guy. Very mellow and willing. He reminded me of a horse we have at the barn called Speedy, who's just sweet. Apollo hasn't done any jumping in the last 3 years or so, but he's gone Novice in the past, when a friend owned him. His dressage is pretty good, though he's stiff to the left and needs work on balanced transitions, and his gaits are lovely. Nice natural overtracking walk, lots of trot, and a nice canter. I didn't feel too small on him, and I didn't feel unsafe. He did give the giant horse-eating farm machinery the hairy eyeball a few times, kind of testing me, but we were fine.
I really got the feeling that I could ride this horse and ride him well. The question is whether he'll jump well. His owner doesn't have any jumps at her place, so I'm planning to bring him home on a week trial, see how he does in a new place, jumping in the arena, and jumping in the field. If he's a good, safe jumper and doesn't spook me, I might very well buy him.
Though I do wonder. Should I be looking for the same kind of horse Gator is? I think I'll know pretty quickly if Apollo is the right horse when I jump him and ride him at home. If I am concerned about him jumping cross-country, then no deal. But if he's willing and forward, it could very much work. I guess I think about the way I felt when I rode Gator -- like "okay, we can totally do this, let's go and jump!" -- and am wondering if Apollo will feel the same way to me. I'm hoping so.
But of course, I'm second-guessing myself. Should I be taking more time, waiting for the horse that just knocks me over with how perfect-for-me it is? Should I not be expecting rainbows and hosannas from the right horse; will it take more than one ride? I totally want to get back on Apollo and ride him more, ride him at home, in a way I know to ride, and spend some time with him really getting to know him. Is that what right is? I felt like Apollo and I could "talk," if you know what I mean. Like there was communication and a sort of accord there, a beginning. Whereas with Gator it felt like he was on board with my plan automatically, whatever the plan was. With Apollo, he's on board, but he's not a thousand percent sure of me yet. But he could get there.
So we'll see. I think a trial is the right thing. I don't think he'll have any soundness issues -- I sure didn't feel any or see any, whereas I could with Gator, even though he worked out of the stiffness. I'm looking forward to getting him home. Which really ought to answer any questions. :)
Here's a video of him -- mostly his current owner riding him on the flat and his previous owner jumping him at a derby at our barn. Apollo's Double