It was a positive learning experience for Jade, a Percheron-Thoroughbred cross, and eventer Samantha Atkinson. as they went novice level Friday at the Paradise Farm Horse Trials.

The day started with a strong dressage test for the eventer from New Brunswick, Canada and the gelding who’s turning 11-years-old this year, as they were smooth in the transitions and changes.

The rider/horse combination seemed to be getting around the stadium jumping arena confidently and comfortably as the scopey Percheron-Thoroughbred appeared very attentive, listening closely to the rider’s aids. However, they wouldn’t go fault free.

“He had a rail from the impulsion around one of the corners, so he knocked nine,” said Atkinson, who has ridden Jade for two years, and owned the gelding for one.

The novice course on cross country featured 17 jumping efforts, with the 16th providing the rider/horse combinations with an option of a ditch or roll top. Jade is a bold horse, and his intrepidity and willingness enabled the duo to handle all of the questions that came their way, with one exception.

“I missed number 14 (cordwood),” said Atkinson. “That was unfortunate.”

It’s been an evolution process for the Perchron-Thoroughbred cross, as Atkinson has moved Jade up from beginner novice, taking her time with the horse, who wasn’t doing anything at the time she started woking with him.

“He started really late, he wasn’t even jumping cross rails,” said Atkinson, who is working this winter in Aiken for Adrienne Iorio. “This year we’ve moved up to novice, and eventually we’ll be moving up to training.”

This winter’s intinerary for Atkinson and Jade includes Jumping Branch, Sporting Days and Full Gallop, and the rider/horse combination will start the spring by competing at the Poplar Place Farm Horse Trials in Hamilton, Ga.