Blog .:. January 2014 1 Entries
So, apparently I am an awful owner. Or blogger. Or both.
I thought I had been posting updates on Fin’s progress, but apparently not. And now that I think back, I’m not even sure how many sessions we’ve worked with him. My brain just doesn’t register things that way.
But we have been working with him. The barn’s H/J trainer is helping me get him started and put a foundation on him. She and I get along really well, and I like her approach.
After the first pony ride, I think we did one more session on the lead. Fin spent most of his time trying to crawl in her pocket, so we moved to working off the line pretty quickly and focused for a ride or two on just walk/halt transitions and some basic steering. We had one session with a little trot work in it, but the next lesson I had her hop on him. She gave him his first real ride at the walk and trot, with a lot of transitions, and he was very relaxed and well behaved for it.
While all this was going on, I was casually looking for a horse trailer. I sold mine last fall, because I wasn’t going to buy a horse again for a while. Um… yeah. Since my trailer budget was pretty small for the type of trailer I wanted to buy, I figured it would take either a steal-of-a-deal or another six months or so until my budget matched my tastes. Fortunately for me, I found that steal of a deal everyone hopes for and I now have a trailer again.
My dressage trainer hadn’t met Fin yet, so I figured this was a good time to trailer him down to her. He could go on a mini field trip, and we’d see how he handled it. If he was good, I’d ride; if the field trip overwhelmed him, we could do some in hand or longe work, whatever made sense.
The trip went really, really well. He was excited and a little nervous about being in a new place, but he handled it very well. I ended up riding and had MY first real walk/trot ride on him. We also worked a little more on steering and starting to really think about moving away from leg pressure.
That experience did wonders for my confidence with him. If he was that good in an entirely new place and could still focus on the ride and learn new things, I decided we were ready to get out of the round pen and start really training.
I arranged to meet someone at the barn last Sunday—my new confidence doesn’t extend to riding him on my own yet, and the H/J trainer was out of town. I hopped on him in the small arena, and he was great—he is definitely starting to understand leg = forward and is relying less on voice commands to help with transitions. We didn’t necessarily have much steering at the trot yet, but he didn’t put a foot wrong.
Last night I hopped on him again in the small arena. This time, it was dark and the arena lights were on. I know for some horses (and mostly riders, I think) working under lights is an issue, but most of our work in the round pen had been at night anyway, so I wasn’t worried about it. Neither was he. I confirmed that we’re walking and trotting, we have some steering at the trot now (can adjust circle size, change direction at the trot, etc), and he picked up the basic idea of a turn on the forehand.
I decided after the rides on Sunday and Monday that he’s officially broke (or started under saddle, for the PC crowd). He walks, he trots, he steers. We haven’t cantered under saddle yet, but that won’t be long in coming either.
The really nice thing about Fin is that he really wants to do the right thing, and he picks things up very quickly. I don’t think he’s ever going to be one that needs to be drilled a lot; open the door to let him do the right thing, praise him for doing the right thing, and he has it. He also seems to be picking up every ride right where we left off on the last one.
He’s really a joy to work with, and it’s going to be a lot of fun bringing him along. And I found my camera, so there will even be pictures or video at some point.
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