So Lola is for sale, which means I don't feel like I can even skip a day of her schedule. So again, all the action is on her blog. Check it out though! And if any of you know of anyone who wants a fun little eventing prospect, she'll be a blast! I just want to make sure its the right home! I'll even make this easy... http://mytrainingproject.blogspot.com/
Plus there is an awesome little incident with Bear from last weekend's post... craziest thing I've ever had happen to me on the trail! EVER! If I've been riding since 4... that makes just about 24 years of riding trails, most of those being in northern California, and I've NEVER had this happen to me!
Now you're curious, huh? Go look! But then come back and read more about Bear...
So we had a really good ride tonight. He's so SO different from Lola. Body-wise he's much narrower, so its different to sit on him. He's not that much taller, but he sure feels it. He carries himself very differently, and he'll have a whole different set of challenges to learn to really be on the bit. Although he's greener than her in some ways, he's got a personality (and we have a longer relationship) that makes him very easy to just pick him up once a week and still feel like we're getting somewhere. He's physically less mature than her, but he's so naturally athletic that in some ways they're even, in someways he's better, and in someways he's never going to be a long hard journey to be as good as her. Its been a fun experiment to ride the two of them back to back on my lesson days. I try to apply the same lesson on him, only to find that it doesn't really apply! Its either too advanced because I need to introduce steps 1, 2, and 3 first, or its focusing on something that is not a weakness of his, so I don't need to use the creative steps to get to the goal. Its funny. It does give me the chance to put to action the equitation corrections that I've been hearing for the previous hour, and THAT always helps our ride. It gives me a lesson plan to work with so I don't go crazy trying to do too much in one ride. Its been fun.
He's been a blast on the trail lately. We've been going just about once a week, so he's getting slowly put back into shape. He didn't even break a sweat tonight, and I gave him a pretty solid 40 minute ride, so its not like he's outrageously out of shape. But I always think its important to start the conditioning at the walk. So he's been getting nice long walks on the trail. We've got some really good ups and downs to build muscle, and lots of steps and rocks to teach him to be careful and think about where he's putting his feet. Last Saturday we added in some trot and canter to our ride too. He's so happy and relaxed about all of it, its great. He was pretty tired by the end of a 2 hour ride though!
So that the fun we've been up to. I've got high hopes for him next fall! It will be a lot of fun to focus just on him again. He's come a long ways this spring, and he did it without consistent time under saddle. I really think that giving him the spring off was actually a good thing, not intentional, but good none the less. He's come back into work a much more balanced and steady horse than he was last fall. Its amazing what physical maturity can do for a four year old! I'm ok with the time he had off of training because now that I'm starting to push him, he's much more capable to step up to the plate.
The sad thing is that he had just lost so much weight at the last place. He's starting to look a little better, but its been a month already, and he's still got a little bit of ribs showing. I keep telling myself that once he's back up to weight, it will be easier to maintain, and that its just the process of getting him there that makes it feel like he's eating twice as much as the rest of the horses. I think the problem is that Lola eats twice as fast as him and so he gets less food. Starting last week he's getting his supplements separately, so I think just that will make a visible difference. They get three hay meals a day (plus I feed the "sloppy" mix when I'm out there), so I can't ask for much more!
The summer plan for him is 6 weeks of pasture vacation with the old mare. He'll get grass all day, plus hay morning and night in a separate pen where he can take his precious time eating! He's such a silly boy, I can't figure out if he just likes to savor his food, or if he gets too easily distracted. I can give the two horses the same amount of their "sloppy" in two separate tubs and watch Lola finish before Bear makes the halfway point. Crazy. He will have spread it twice as far as Lola though! If he were human, he'd be the kid that painted the dining room table with his spaghetti sauce instead of eating. I love my silly boy.
I feel good that he'll be fat and happy when I get back. I feel really confident now that I can pick up lessons with him in August and have him ready to hit a couple shows before the winter weather hits. That is if I'm back to one horse by then.... I can only hope. I'm exhausted just thinking about still having two horses this fall!