I am realizing it has been awhile since I have updated anyone on Mr. Stevie. He is better than ever, but currently in a relax stage of his training...He is a sensitive type, although he is always wanting to do more. It's a delicate balance between doing too much and too little, either extreme will give you a big step backwards, which is not what we want at all.
When I finally felt that we were at a good point in our flatwork, I was trying to decide whether or not to do some footwork with ground poles or go back to jumping. Something told me that plain poles on the ground were not going to take me anywhere with him, so we decided to go back to jumping. He was MORE than excited to finally do jump again and had a couple of really green really crazy fences before realizing that all the flatwork we had been working on was for a purpose. We finally started cantering some fences and put together a mini course with a single fence, outside line and then a one stride to another single fence, nice straight lines and attempting to stay consistent, the fences were all about 2'3" to 2'6" so I think we are on a good track for the start of next season.
It's becoming clear again that gymnastics will help him a lot. My plan for spring is to incorporate more bounces, placement rails and gymnastics before re-approaching jumping single fences. He is still jumping well, but is missing the arc of the fence....rather, taking off normally and landing waaaay far away. I think larger fences will also help (once he has a respect for the jump he is going over, he might actually JUMP it instead of canter over it) but I am not one to want to press height to fix technical style, I would rather have the technical set as stone lower to carry over to larger fences. Regardless, I have decided to put off any more jumping until the spring when we can get consistent and stay consistent. I also plan to build some raised cavalletti over the winter to help work on the foot work in the spring, as plain poles do not really motivate Stevie to really do much.
In between his last couple times jumping I took him for a gallop on "the back 40" - a 40 acre square corn field that had just been cut. The footing was perfect and after our trip to Fair Hill where I "learned to ride like an exercise rider" I decided to give it a go on a real horse. I have never seen Steve be jiggy on trail, so it was funny to me that he got all into it. We started at a trot, and broke to a canter which stayed controlled until we got back to where we started again and he opened up a bit....which really was a blast, however 40 acres is not exactly big enough to really let a real race horse full out and be able to stop before reaching a corner. Nothing bad happened, no sliding feet, but he did wait to stop until the very last possible second. It was cute because the feeling underneath me was Steve saying "let me show you what I know" he totally was out there attempting to take care of me while still having his fun doing what he was born to do.
Since then we really have not been doing too much, lots of trails and low key work, he had an intense few months, learned a lot and now earned a break. He's putting a ton of weight on and I can't seem to feed him enough hay to keep him satisfied (YAY FAT RACEHORSE!!!) I love that I can decide after a few days to just hop on, bareback or with tack, whatever and go on a nice relaxed ride with no questions asked. We are really starting to build up a team relationship which is absolutely invaluable to me. There are a handful of schooling shows coming up that I am dying to just get him on the trailer to, to school around but we will see what happens. I am more than excited for show season with him, I