I also learned how to drive ponys in a two wheeled schooling cart a few years ago. I just started taking lessons again and have been riding for a total of 17 years but I've never had my own horse because I couldn't afford one. Im riding at first level. My profile pic is from a couple yrs. Ago at a hunter jumper schooling show but I don't ride hunt seat. I trained that horse up to training level and the pic is from his first show. We later entered him in a dressage show. He was an OTTB. I haven't jumped in a while but I was doing courses at 18inches high and the highest I ever jumped was 2'6 but to me it felt like 3 feet high! Maybe because I was on a 15hh little quarter horse. The horse Im riding now in my lessons is named Ivaldo and he has been shown up to the Prix St. George International level in dressage. He's 22yrs. Old but he's a very good teacher. He knows how to do everything and if Im not riding a movement correctly he just stops. He has a brand on him from Holland and is a very stocky dutch warm blood.
I love hunter paces as long as the jumps aren't too high. I have done more trail riding than showing. I use to ride hunter-jumper style and started out as a "natural horsemanship" person before that term was invented. When I was a teenager I leased allot of horses and read allot of books on training and was very focused on how horses behave. So while all the hunter jumper riders were in the barn or the riding ring, I would be outside with my horse learning herd behavior and trying to get my horse to trust me on the trails. My aunt has horses and she almost never rides in a riding ring or with a helmet on (but she probably should wear a helmet sometimes) so all my trail riding skills were learned from her. Her and a mare my mother almost bought for me when I was 15 but I wasn't ready for a horse yet. The mare was only 6 and green broke but she was very brave (quarter horse/appy) and never bolted with me on the trails (but she did buck super high a few times or decide she wasn't going any further and would back up into a bush). She was very challanging just to work around. She was always in heat and being only 6, she would walk away when I bridled her or when I went to do anything with her. She had been trained her ground manners but she knew I was a beginner. I probably shouldn't have been taking her out on trails for hours all by myself but she was a very patient mare. The only thing that really bothered her were cows. I would have to dismount and lead her past them sometimes. Sometimes when she was getting really frustrated with me I would stand in the stirrups and tell her to canter which calmed her down but half the time I was ducking branches and could barely steer her and then she would start bucking when she felt me getting unbalanced so then I would give her the aids to trot as she was about to buck and we would just keep trotting (unbalanced and as fast as possible) until she was calmer. The only thing I knew how to do on her really well was sitting trot. I use to practice it riding her bare back in the ring.