Over the course of working with these horses, I have been trying to emphasise with everybody the importance of our horses being confident with and understanding the basic aids – go; flow; steer; and back. We should stay with these things until they become smooth and accurate before we add too many other ideas and aids to our horses. I have been very happy with everybody’s progress and it has been great to see the changes made in all the horses.
Lucky & Banjo have been yarded together so it was a good opportunity for Lucky to have a job. He did well ponying Banjo, enough so that we got Jackie up on Banjo whilst Lucky was in the yard to sit on and take a few steps. Jackie has been up on Banjo and has been walking him around since then with some general guidance, and then in the bigger round yard she has worked a little bit more on understanding energy from legs. He has been very quiet, and though he lacks a little bit of confidence and understanding he is a little bit wriggly. He is going okay but he hasn’t fully adjusted to the weight of a rider on and around him. I don’t try and make horses go fast until they are a little bit more comfortable and understanding of the energy cue and are more confident and free flowing in the walk. He is doing well though.
Lucky has been improving. He has been getting better at understanding the basic aids and not being so grumpy about them. But there is a still work on maintaining focus; he is the type of horse that feels he needs to be focusing on everything. He has been going quite well riding out; and Jackie has been doing a good job making changes and getting her confidence back on him.
Megan’s Clydesdale x Andalusian has been making good steady progress. He is very quiet to work with, but had a little trouble moving forward with the legs. We have been slowly building his confidence at maintaining gait in the walk before the trot; and doing a lot of transitions so that he understands that legs mean go. Today he finally felt ready to canter and we had a good opportunity. He found it reasonably well, though when it wasn’t his idea it he was a little bit sticky and showed he still had a bit of distaste for the legs. When he is focused, he is soft and free but when he looses his focus to the horses in the paddocks or yards, he shows a bit of resistance. All in all, he is improving well. Megan was able to walk and trot him when I rode out with her today, and felt quite safe.
The Haflinger mare, like the other horses, can go quite freely when it is her idea (or when you combine your idea with hers) and has nice smooth flow. Though when she lacks focus or gets a little bit stuck in direction, she also can be a bit reluctant to go. We have been working on understanding her transition to go through the legs and becoming softer in the reins – softness in back up and steering. Chrissie has been walking, trotting and riding her out and we managed to get her first canter today and Chrissie was also able to canter her outside. She has been coping quite well out and about.