I met Astronomic. He is a lovely chap, very friendly.Going through that ugly 2 year old stage, all legs, co ordination still required, and a little thin I thought. Extremely lazy. Doesn't move off your leg well. He is normally ridden in spurs and we didn't have any so it was very difficult to get him moving and to keep him moving. I had a dressage whip and he didn't really respond to that either. With all the natural impulsion he had he was very comfortable, took you with him which was lovely. I finally got him to canter and it was a lot of work to keep him cantering for a 20m circle. He paddles in one leg which I didn't like as it quite pronounced. Also his off side hind, in the trot, when it hit the ground just looked odd. I can't really explain it but I didn't like that either. The people who are selling him seem very genuine and told us everything they could think of. I really enjoyed my ride even though it was hard work. I am still very concerned about the amount of work he has done at such an early age.
I had a lesson on Sam yesterday. He worked very well and was sound for the duration. We gave him a lot of breaks of walk as we didn't want to over work him either as he hasn't had too much work since our last lesson. My instructor can see a big improvement. He is happier to move off my legs, listening and reacting to aids quicker. His trot became rhythmical very early so we could ask for him to accept the contact and start working in a frame a lot quicker than normal. She also said that he is engaging well from behind and rounding his back nicely. Canter was still very stiff and braced but we haven't worked on that at home much but he did nice transitions into the canter so that was good.
One of the stable cats was hunting in the long grass around the arena during our lesson. Sam is fine with cats and so far he hadn't battered an eyelid. The cat had found something and decided just as Sam and I were trotting past to make the huge death defying leap. Poor Sam got a fright, he was working so well in a frame which he kept and bounded side ways a good 2m. I went with him and of course the headset that my instructor uses, the batteries died just at that time. She was still able to talk me through it and we continued on with a lovely forward engaged trot. My little heart was racing a million miles an hour. The top end of the arena was causing us problems during the lesson. Something was spooking Sam and it took a bit of riding to push him through this but we worked through it and by the end of the lesson I was able to trot large around the arena with still tenseness at the top end but he was able to trust me enough to continue trotting around there.
I spoke to my instructor as well about Astronomic. She does not believe that I am up to having a young horse. Due to my inexperience and lack of confidence she believes that while he may be very quiet and obliging she was concerned about when we have to face new things in life I may not be able to give him the confidence he needs. I appreciated her honesty and it helped cement in my mind that I had made the right decision. On Thursday night I had made the decision not to purchase Astro. The decision was made due to his age and work load that he has already had. The paddling, the off side hind not landing quiet right, the amount of work it took him to go forward. Also I rode Sam on Thursday night and emotionally I don't think I am ready for another horse.