Like many ponies, Sparky was notorious for deciding when a lesson was over, head going one way, body traveling another as he proceeded to trot right out the in-gate. But as a result he taught me that horses aren't just push-button beasts. You have to steer them, with legs and not just hands, and stay focused on what you're doing. In other words, I learned that I wasn't just along for the ride and that if I stopped thinking, he would start, and then we'd be in trouble.
When jumping, Sparky taught me the proper way of counting strides and finding a distance. This pony could find any distance with his eyes closed, and never missed a jump. He was so consistent, and through his tutelage I learned how to feel how much ground we were covering and visualize my strides to the base of a jump.
He also took me to my first rated show at Ludwig's Corner, which is where all of these pictures came from. I had never been in a warm up ring with half that many people before (so much chaos!), and when I warmed up by jumping an oxer backwards (aren't the flowers usually on the other side...? whoops!), Sparky took care of me. All in all we more than survived that day, earning a reserve place ribbon in the end.