Chi is 18 now, and despite a few grey hairs he doesn’t seem inclined to stop learning. If we continue at the rate we’re going it’s possible we’ll be riding around 3rd level by the time he’s 20. Flying changes seem like a
fun frustrating challenge.
Occassionally I hear that he’s improved greatly but that I should get another horse. That another horse would be less effort and would be able to go so much farther in the training. I kind of think these people miss the point. I’m not interested in the destination, it’s the journey we’re taking together, Chi and I, and the lessons I’ve taken from it that are important to me.
I am riding other horses. There’s a very talented sport horse mare, that I’m slowly bringing along to whom the dressage work is almost effortless to teach. I’m starting a young appendix who is incredibly nimble and has a ton of personality. I have a saddlebred I’m developing muscle on who is fully trained, a delight to ride and enjoys all the canter work and jumping we do together. But I keep returning to my powerful, one-eyed Canadian gelding with his dinner plate feet and his utterly gentle nature. Everything with him is tricky tricky to keep light and balanced, but it allows me to develop a habit of working with horses that is at once both firm and also incredibly soft and gentle.
I could not be more grateful for the lessons Chi continues to teach me, and he in turn appreciates that my pockets are always full of apple treats.