Over the back, down to the bit

I went home to Wisconsin for the holiday weekend, so Jones got a few days off. It rained like crazy here over the weekend. We worked in the indoor today, with the drapes up. It was a lovely 80 degrees with a light breeze.

I started out working with him in walk under saddle. He needs to come forward from the leg, over the back and down to the bit, which is not his natural tendency when one swings into the tack. First I got the walk going, then I started doing halt-walk-halt transitions, focusing on him coming through quickly. On the third one, when I tapped him with the dressage whip on the hingquarter, he objected fairly strongly, but we came to an agreement that it is wise to go forward from the leg.

Trot work, because we had established forward in walk, went well, as did canter and jumping work. He needs to be stronger before we can do anything bigger or more complex in jumping, but we did a few verticals and oxers around 2′. Very good.

Canter departs

He was a little better with his hooves today. His right hind seems to be the problem, and I note that it was the one he was kicking out with when Liz was undoing his shipping boots. Anyway, he did alright with it tonight, but he was pulling back a bit when I placed it on my knee as a farrier does. I do still wonder about chiropractic. My chiropractor is coming out in early June and may be able to fit him in, which I would recommend. All chiropractors are not alike.

At any rate, I didn’t lunge tonight, just got on and worked on sending him forward in walk. The on to trot and the cross rail and then cantering the cross rail and then canter transitions from walk, which were a little difficult at first but showed marked improvement.

Cross rail

During grooming I noticed that he is a little funny about his feet. He needs to learn to trust his handler and just let his leg relax. We’ll work on that. I lunged him briefly and he was stellar, remembering everything we discussed yesterday. I rode him today in my jumping saddle, which also fits him pretty well, but then I have a bunch of tbs laying about the place, so that sort of stands to reason. 😉 When I went to set up the cross rail, I led him over there and he was not really moving forward when asked. We had a few moments of clarification regarding what was required and he got on board. We started out in walk work where I spend some time getting him in front of my leg. Horses who buck are behind the leg and Jones is no exception. The reasons for them being behind the leg are myriad, so that is the mystery. At any rate, we got the forward walk developed and he was marching right along in soft connection. Big praise. On to trot work, repeating the same mantra of going forward. Took a bit of sending from the leg, but he got it. Then we trotted the crossrail and I was riding forward, half expecting him to buck on the other side. Not an ear flick and landed in canter. Hmmmm. On to canter work and cantering the cross rail which went well, so done for the day.

Day one

He settled in very well with Shadow on Saturday and this morning spent some time in the grass paddock, enjoying his time. I switched him to Enrich 32, which he is not all that thrilled with. I suppose compared with sweet feed it is like going from cotton candy to whole wheat, but welcome to Field Day where you are what you eat.

This afternoon, I brought him in and trimmed his mane, banged his tail and groomed him as a way to get to know him. I got out your saddle and started giggling because it may fit the horse, but it is way too small for me. Ha ha! So I put my dressage saddle on him which appeared to fit quite well. I worked him in hand for a few minutes, working on coming over his topline and yielding. Then I lunged him and he was very good, though I did mess around a little bit with transitions which he was a little dull about, but really, he is in at least the 80th percentile as far as ground work is concerned. I put a bridle on him with a nathe bit. I took a breath and got on and asked him to walk. He was appreciably behind the leg, so he got a few bumps and a soft contact up front and he went forward a little beter. We went on to trot where he was less behind the leg, but still so, and then on to canter where he was quite good after all the work on getting in front of my leg in walk and trot.

Pretty good start.