A week or two ago, I started working Oso in the canter a bit, just to see how well he was able to balance himself initially. Some young thoroughbreds are heavy in the bridle in the canter as they are used to leaning on the bit or rider’s hands for balance. For dressage and jumping, we want to help the horse to learn to accept the bit, hold a steady contact, but balance from behind and remain relatively light on the forehand. My initial impression was that Oso had good natural balance in the canter, but his straightness, rhythm, and acceptance of the bit was going to take some work. Our first few canters consisted of a few straight strides, followed by several sideways and silly steps! The next few rides (and the last week or so) I have focused on continuing to develop our ability to bend to the right, and our adjustability in the trot. We revisited the canter for the first time in our latest ride, and Oso was fantastic in both directions! He picked up both leads on the first try, and was able to canter a big circle quietly and in good balance! We even had a few steps where Oso softened and held a contact. Love this boy!
Archive | May, 2016
It’s been a great week with Oso, we went on a little trail ride today and he was a good boy! With young horses, I find the more they get out to see different things the more focused they are when asked to work in the arena. This is definitely proving to be true with Oso. A few days after moving to the bigger turnout, we had a real test of his focus while riding. New horses were being let out into the turnouts (right next to the arena), and they started running around playing. In the past this has been a definite cause of excitement for Oso! This time, though he looked to check out what the other horses were doing, he stayed calm and remained focused on our work in the arena. Today we did a relaxed walk on the trail to finish up our ride. Oso has a good head on his shoulders!
Oso and I have made great progress in the last week, despite some very windy weather. While Oso is an even tempered and mature five year old, the wind still has a tendency to make him excitable! After a couple mildly wild rides, I decided it was a good idea to introduce Oso to a bigger turnout paddock. Oso lives in a stall with a connected paddock, but turnout in a bigger space has been a good addition to his program. He loves hanging out all afternoon with his horse buddies, and as an added bonus, he is spending lots of time next to the tree he finds so spooky when we ride and it’s windy. In the last few days, we have started doing a few steps of canter and did our first ride in the dressage saddle! The canter will definitely be a work in progress, but Oso seems to have good ability to balance and carry himself!