Saturday, May 23, 2009
Today, however, we actually went out and did something! I trailered him out to the trails by the lake. So it was an entirely new place, and I took him with out the old mare, so two firsts. The trails were quite a bit more challenging than what we've done before, and I'm supposed to be hiking to condition for Mt Shasta, so I walked him! It worked out wonderfully! He has never been forced to walk behind me like this. The trail narrow enough that I couldn't have him next to me like he's used to, so he got lead endurance style, trailing along behind. Only problem is him watching how close he's getting! So after a few sudden stops to check if he was paying attention and a couple swats to his chest to back off, he got the idea. He only stepped on the back of my shoe once! By the end of the hike he even slowed down and fell in behind me when the trail started to narrow! Good smart horse!!!
We walked down to the lake and he stuck one foot in and his nose. I didn't ask for more since he was being brave and the footing wasn't great. Most of the lower trail was right along the lake. The boats were rocketing by with screaming kids on intertubes, and Bear would just casually stop to see what the fun was all about.
He had to cross a log that was HUGE. It would have made a great jump, but not at the end of a lead rope and certainly not on a cliff trail. He was great, I drove him over it in front of me in case he jumped, but he just stepped really high, one foot at a time, with no hesitation. I was so proud.
We had one horse pass us when we were heading back, she was heading out and ended up catching up and passing again on the way back. He was curious, but otherwise just fine with the other horse leaving him behind. I just feel so SO lucky to have such a steady personality on this horse. Its so easy!
So we got some great exposure and training in. We both got a workout, and it was just a fun day!
Friday, May 8, 2009
After the circles it was a jog serpentine through the cones, back through the L, a 360 degree pivot on the haunches both directions inside the box, over the bridge, and right hand push through the gate. I was really impressed with his cones, he just went right through them at a nice slow sitting trot. Then he's great on backing up! Super light and willing to please. We took a bit to figure out where to put his hind-end while getting around the corner of the L, but overall it was great. The box was tough because it was so tight. So while he did have a few times where he really moved his shoulders cross over his front feet there were a lot of repositioning his hind end so we could stay in the box. The bridge was fine, and we even collected for the slightest pause on top to show he was listening to me to either stop or keep going. Our go at the gate was probably our best one yet! He's so relaxed about these things! I just love it.
He's such a fun horse to work with, and I just need to start trusting that he is capable of more! Both this and the show I thought would be challenges for him, but he's taking it all in stride! I can't believe what a great horse he's turned into. This final was a great test for me to really see where he's at! He's beyond where I thought I'd have him in just 4 months under saddle. In fact he's beyond most retrain projects that I've shown in the past! They've all had anxiety issues about one thing or another! We're at a great place in training, and he doesn't need to know anything else until he's a bit older!
For now I'm looking forward to lots of trail rides and conditioning for a while. I'm totally broke, so shows and lessons will have to wait until we both can really benefit from them. He could used some consistant lunging with side-reins to help him develop the right muscles in his neck. Other than that, unless I can think of someone I could trust to ride him while I'm gone, he'll have 6 weeks off during the height of the summer, and we'll be figuring out our next step in the fall. But he's only 3 and already acting like a well broke horse. I can't really ask for anything else.