I’ve started riding Wilson (pictured at left). He is a really good boy so far. I’ve been lunging him outside in the pasture. The footing is quite a bit dryer out there than in the outdoor arena (the outdoor doesn’t drain as well). He doesn’t have very much topline muscle and he tires quickly. But, he’s willing enough. I got on him for the first time last Sunday. It was quite a treat, actually, because Pam and Olivia who adopted JC (now known as Sawyer), were visiting. They got to meet Wilson and Ned and were there to witness the first ride.
Wilson was really quite good though. He stood quietly for mounting, which is something they usually need to learn to do. He’s very out of balance at this point, mostly because of the lack of muscle. So he’s using his neck to really held him out (which means the underside is quite thick and strong). I’m going to start working him in the side reins to encourage him to flex at the poll and stretch down and foward. I think this will help him start using himself correctly. I’ve also been working with him in hand with the dressage whip so that he has an understanding of moving away from pressure. He caught on to this very quickly and is very willing to move laterally. Yay!
As far as riding was concerned, he did great. Aside from the fact that he does go around like a giraffe right now, he’s very responsive to my weight. We walked and trotted both directions coming back to the walk or the halt simply from a shift in my weight. He falls to the inside and really needs support on the right shoulder from the crop/whip to help remind him to shift his balance over on the circle. I find this to be pretty common though. I used a dressage whip to help support the shoulder and he quickly figured out that the whip didn’t mean go faster, but rather move over.
Slowly but surely, I think he’ll make a really nice horse for someone. 🙂
In other news, Ned is heading up to Jan and Archie’s for some trail riding work. He leaves on Saturday. I think that will be really good for him. He needs to go to someone who can ride him through any potential issues and see where he’s at in riding skills. It should work out well. He’ll be there for a month and get a lot of saddle time. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out with him.
Jewel is also coming along nicely. I’ve been able to lunge her outside and its making a big difference. March is usually her crazy month — spring sillies. She’s been really good. I’ve been working her for a good 1/2 hour on the lunge line before I ride though and I really do believe that it makes a difference. She is getting fitter and I’m looking forward to really building some good back muscle on her this summer. She just needs more muscle. But I must admit that she is looking better physically (coming out of the winter) than she has coming out of any other winter that I’ve owned her. I’m really pleased. I think the combination of grass/alfalfa mix hay, strategy and Ultimate Finish, along with regular work, are really a good thing. I am going to be putting her back on the Ukele oil now that the temps are above freezing. She really likes that stuff and tends to do very well on it.
Aside from the muscle/strength building, I’m really going to be working on developing our trot lengthenings and working on her connection at the canter. She likes to rush the lengthenings and wants to come above the bit at the canter. They’re all getting their teeth done in a month or so, so after that — NO EXCUSES! 🙂 In the past, Jewel and I kind of came to an agreement which worked really well for training/first level. The agreement was essentially this: I won’t ask too much of you as long as you don’t fuss and just go along quietly. Well, now that we’re really at a place where we should be showing second level (accept for the stength issues) its time to kick that agreement up a knotch and say hey…its time for you to carry yourself where I put you. Of course…Jewel being a mare means I have to more request it and then convince her its a good idea. Ha ha. Time will tell. Stay tuned!