I had a really fantastic lesson on Zephyr today. I will never stop smiling.
I mean, he ran out on the barrels every time. Ran riiiiiiiiiiiight out. Lost his power steering, showed absolutely no "let's go cross country" bravery. But that's okay, because everything else was great. Let's back up.
We started out with the usual walk and trot warm up, and then Chris set up one ground pole up the center line, and then two, and then the second one became a crossrail and then a tiny vertical. Zeph trotted right down the middle every time. I stayed defensive and a little behind every time, but C and I agree that this is the safest place to be on a green horse like him.
Then we cantered the tiny vertical like a million times and he was really, really good. I was so pleased that we were able to canter well enough to jump out of it. When Chris put the barrels behind the vertical Zephyr said "fuck you all." We eventually got him to jump the vertical without the barrels, but the barrels themselves will have to wait for another day. I did my best, was as tenacious as possible, but sometimes that isn't enough. I don't feel discouraged. We'll get him there. I just think he hasn't realized jumping is fun yet, so he doesn't want to be brave. And maybe he never will be? We will see. In the meantime, he's learning and I'm getting good practice in for Lex, whose natural instincts are better than Zephyr's.
Here's the good news, though: Chris, who is not effusive with his praise, could not shut up about how Zephyr looks like a different horse than he did a month ago. He said Zephyr has more natural balance and is much more forward and responsive. I was grinning from ear to ear for like two hours.
Best. Day. Ever.