Sorry for the lack of posts! Ryker has been out of commission for a few days due to a stone bruise... Dang those TB feet! He'll be back at it ASAP! We're gearing up for the Alfred Open Show, hopefully he'll be good to go and well prepped in time!
In the mean time, funny photo of the day:
Ryker decided it would be more fun to put both feet in the bucket, not just one... He moved his foot over and stepped in and refused to take his other foot out... silly race horse! Too bad I didn't get video!
Ryker is moving forward, both in his flat work and over fences. He's been working on creating more of a connection with the bit in his trot work, his back and shoulders are slowing beginning to come up; he is still figuring out how to canter with a light contact while allowing me to sit on his back. I threw a flash noseband on him the last day before spring break, because he felt like he was ready for it. He is a sensitive soul, so I didn't want to immediately clamp his mouth shut, but as he's progressed with his understanding of contact and half-halts he's been using an open mouth as an evasion to the bit. Although it took him time to calm down about it, he was wonderful once he settled. The previous day we had a great jump school, working on adding poles to single fences - we had a pole, one stride to a vertical, on stride to a pole. He was quite calm about it, hopefully we can start adding more poles and eventually build them up into gymnastics.
I decided instead of having him ridden lightly while I was away for spring break (Down in Southern Pines, NC to work with my personal OTTB with Denny Emerson at Tamarack Hill Farm) to give him a week off to contemplate the two wonderful progressive rides we had just had, and to recharge his batteries for when I return home.
At my last school on my mare with Denny yesterday, there was a horse, Hawk, who was nearly identical to Ryker both in build, way of going, and in attitude. It felt like I was watching my own horse school with someone else. It was wonderful to see a horse with a very similar mental state, and to soak up all of the advice Denny gave to the rider and to see the horse progress (hopefully Ryker will be just as athletic and willing as this horse). Denny's biggest comment with Hawk was to "lower the intensity"; that he needed to learn that everything is not as intense as the race track. Denny had them trot everything first, calmly and quietly to bring everything down a notch. This will be Ryker's M.O. for the rest of the semester, calm quiet rides, getting him to settle and focus on the job at hand - I have high hopes for him, and hopefully Denny's advice for Hawk will help Ryker progress.
Sorry for the delay! ...computer issues...
Ryker has been doing very well, he's had a few long weekends off here and there, but always comes back ready to work. We're trotting and cantering small crossrails and verticals on their own now. We attempted to take him though a gymnastic - the same one-stride that Pogo excelled at, and proceeded to take a few steps backwards. Ryker is a little bit of a sensitive soul, and tends to internalize everything, often it feels like I'm sitting on a bottle rocket that's fuse has been lit, but ends up being a dud and not doing anything exciting - I do love boring! The amount of poles and standards in the one stride just blew his mind, so we're sticking to single fences for now -I've started relating poles before and after fences, about 3-4 stride away, and he has no problem with that. Some horses do better with gymnastics, and others with single fences - he's just a single fences kind of guy. The more confident he gets the more we will begin to slowly build courses together and introduce elements of gymnastic work (VERY slowly). On the flat he has mastered the half-halt in the canter, and to right at the trot, the left is still a little inconsistent, but we're almost there! We're also continuing to work on all of our lateral aids, and our transitions into the canter, both of which are quite nice most days.
On another note, he's shedding what little coat he has like a beast, spring anyone! Unfortunately he's also developed a little patch of track scuz on his hip - Anyone out there have a remedy ? ...I know we've all got some "magical" combination of things to cure scratches, but I personally don't have an arsenal of tricks up my sleeve for track scuz!