Then I went out to the barn with my six year old, who is finally showing a little interest in horses. There was all sorts of construction happening at the barn, so I was worried that Tessa might be a little nervous. I wasn't there to ride, just to let my daughter get used to the idea of the barn a bit. So I opened the stall door. Tessa pushed her head into me, as usual and fussed and fiddled. Then my daughter reached up to pet her. Tessa didn't know what to make of her. She snuffled at her. She looked to see if she had a carrot and then she put her head down and sighed, while my child petted her head. My heart melted.
So I went home and thought some more about what my long range goals are. And here's what I've come up with. I really want to experience a lot with my horse, including riding her Western, jumping her, taking her on trails, taking her to the ocean, maybe a little local showing. I want to have the kind of horse that has done it all and is happy. I may decide as I go down this road that Tessa isn't right, but maybe what she really needs is a solid investment.
So, for the next year my plan is to try and get a jump saddle and take some jump lessons. I also may send her off to a local trainer who works with horses on the trails. That way she gains some experience getting off the farm and on the trails. Sure, I'll be spending some money doing these things but it will allow me to evaluate my horse as we go along. I think she's going to be spectacular and she just needs a little time and a little confidence. When we get to next spring/summer, I will evaluate if the barn I'm at is the right barn. It's chock full of awesome people and awesome trainers, but without a truck and trailer I have no way of ever getting outside the arena. There is only one arena and it's indoors. And with my big plans, I'm not sure it will be the right place for us long term. Of course, I may change my mind in a year, but this is the plan I've got and it feels like a good one.