Yoshi was a star again though, regardless of whether or not I have photo/video proof. We warmed up over an entry ramp, circled to the Novice #1, a ramp then a novice table. Yoshi and I are getting better at going forward from the get go, so it flowed decently well. We then headed from novice #1 to the #2 which was a decent gallop stretch away. Ms. GY's horse and Yoshi both found this a bit spooky and fish tailed a bit. Like the good boy he is though, Yoshi went forward when I closed my leg and sat up. Next we looped around through the water to the BN size table (flagged as part B of the novice combo that was 2 tables with an almost obligatory water crossing between them). I gave him a pretty short approach to the water and he was kind of surprised, slipped to a walk then picked up the trot again in the water and cantered the two strides out to pop over the table and then head to the same novice table we had warmed up over. We got tight to that, but he jumped up and over really very nicely. At least my inability to see distances is teaching him to jump well from wherever we end up.
Next it was over the trakheners. We started over the BN one to the novice roll top with brush. We circled back to take the training trakhener. JT actually meant for me to come back over the novice one. I definitely didn't have enough forward to the trakhener, but he still hopped over it gamely. We re-did that set starting with the training brush roll top then back to the trakhener. As we headed to the brush I did think for a second it looked quite large, but JT's faith in sending us to go do it made me sit up and close my leg. The second time over the trakhener went much more smoothly.
We headed to the banks next to play and Ms. and Mr. GY got to be amazed by the casual loose rein, hands forward, barely jog to it approach to down banks. It was so funny to watch them go through the same process Yoshi and I did a month ago. Yoshi and I went down BN, turned around to go up BN to a roll top that was part B, then turned back around to come down novice to the novice part B, a decent size roll top.
Next it was over to the water. We did the whole novice line through then she had us do the smallest down bank in. Yoshi faltered a bit, but went after assessing the situation. JT said that was a pretty green moment and then said "we've done the down bank into water before, right?" Yoshi said "nope, we had not, but don't worry that's okay". We did that size a few more times before going to the next size up. By the time we did that twice he was splashing into water like a pro. And on that note, we were done!
Ms. GY and I were talking later about JT's coaching. Ms. GY said that several times JT had started to shout something in my direction, but I had started doing it as she started to talk (ie stretch up and balance, move the canter). This led to JT stopping shouting and just chuckling. Between JT and Yoshi this whole process has felt so simple. I told her she had higher ambitions for Yoshi and me than I did when she told me back in August or July that we'd be looking at novice by the spring. But she knows horses and knows how to teach, so here we are, hopping over training fences like it is NBD and schooling whole novice courses.
Yoshi is also the most uncomplicated, straight forward horse I've ever had the pleasure of riding. He goes forward when I ask, stops or slows when I ask, and goes over the jump he is pointed at. When we were circling around to head back into the water at one point he locked onto the skinny prelim log headed in. I turned him away, but he already has that down pat after 4 months of work. I cannot write/say enough how glad I am that I took a chance on this sightly blemished (dropped hip, crappy feet, osselet on left front) thoroughbred. I'm not sure if he is a forever horse for me or if he will eventually be for sale as a seeing eye horse for someone, but either which way this has been a really fun and rewarding road so far. JT said she could see him easily hopping around prelim at some point. And I would've laughed, but the prelim coffin didn't look that bad as I sat on his back.