It's probably as good a time as any to give a Matthew riding update. He loves "horseback" as he calls it and looks forward to it every week.
In the past month he has learned how to guide his horse around cones, to do a sitting trot, to put the bridle on his horse, to adjust his stirrups. He's also been working a lot on stopping and starting his horse and a "rising trot". It's possible he's learned other things too - it's about as mysterious to me as karate lol. They are doing the Equine Canada levels, and he's looking forward to getting stuff he can do at home (!)
I was originally not allowed to tell most people about this, but Matthew has now also experienced his first gallop and his first fall. I was very very happy that I happened to be recording it at the time because I was able to review the video and assure myself that he did not bang his head. It was certainly terrifying to watch live. Matthew found the galloping part quite scary but kept his head if not his seat. He says he was mostly worried about getting stepped on (me too!) His teacher handled it very well, checking him out and encouraging him to get back on the horse.
Matthew was completely fine - they checked with me to make sure the following day - but escaped without so much as a bruise! The next week he was still completely fine, but I confess I was quite relieved to find out he was on a different horse. The only residual effect he seemed to have had was that when his teacher suggested he try trotting around the arena he insisted she better run beside him. So perhaps a few (understandable!) nerves.
As I said, at first he told me I couldn't post the video, but at Thanksgiving he wanted to know what everyone thought of the video and was surprised that they hadn't all seen it. So I reminded him he didn't want it posted. "Oh!" he said. "Well you can post it to everyone now. I don't mind anymore."