It’s gotten to be a habit: every Tuesday before the lesson, I pick out Rebel’s feet and give him an auld combover. He was in a mood this past week; he’s mostly stopped farting in my face when I lift his near hind hoof, but he came up with some new tricks.

As I clawed at the mud and poo in cupped in his shoe, he leaned down, and peeled open the velcro closure at the top of my half chaps. Scccccrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrritch, and he snorted.

‘Very funny, dude,’ I said. It really was.

I leant back over his foot, and he bit me on the arse.

Not a big bite, but not a nudge or a nibble either. I took it to mean, ‘Thanks.’

It’s nice when’s he’s playful, because his other mood is sheer cussedness. He was kind of mental on Saturday, but once we got working he relaxed. My posture is much better, too, which is making it easier on him.

After his little games in the barn, he was pretty much gold in the arena. He’s been throwing his head down in the canter and verging on gallop, but with my improved posture, I don’t panic so much.

We’ve been jumping better, mostly because I’ve started thinking about it. No, let me rephrase that: I have been thinking about jumping a lot lately, because my instructors have deemed it so, so I was really, really crap for a while, but now I’m maybe improving again.

So: lately the jumping hasn’t been too crap, so some of the stuff they’ve made me think about is maybe sinking in.

But no matter what, if he’s not into it, it just makes it that much harder. If he’s dragging his feet [literally], or is low energy, or if we’re not meshing on the day, then I can keep my leg on til the cows come home, and he’s not going to go for it.

So he can bite my bum as much as he wants — I’ll take it to bode well for the next hour.

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