I am really thrilled with JC’s progress under saddle. He is really starting to understand that when I put my inside leg on, he should stretch down into contact. He also is more than willing to carry himself and lift his back. He is usually good doing so for about 5-6 strides at a time. We’re working on figure 8s and he is about 50/50 on being able to stay soft and round through the change of bend. Usually though, it is my fault that he doesn’t stay connected as I forget to support him. He remains extremely willing as well as very soft and light in the bridle. Every once in a while he falls out of balance and becomes heavy and stiff. But really, he tries so very hard to do what I ask and I simply can’t ask for much more than that at this point. I’m extremely pleased with his progress under saddle. If he is still around (and the weather cooperates) I’m thinking about entering him in the Come Again Farms dressage schooling show in January (intro level).
I have also started lunging him at the canter in the arena. My indoor is fairly small (about 15 meters wide), which is pretty tight for a horse that is used to the big sweeping corners of a race track. For this reason, I haven’t asked for the canter under saddle yet. I really don’t think that stopping him will be the issue. Rather, he is still figuring out how to canter on the 15m lunging circle, so until he can canter in a somewhat balanced state on the lunge, I’m not going to ask him to do it under saddle. Perhaps if we ride at a larger arena, we’ll ask for the “C” word under saddle.
Here are some recent photos of him: