If there is one thing that I've taken from every person I've ever ridden with, and a piece of advice  that has been given to me repeatedly for this project, is to take it slow in order to make steady progress.   Ryker has been fantastic, working on aspects on the ground that translate to aspects undersaddle,  starting simply and adding pieces slowly . Like in lunging, for example; I started with a rope halter and long lead working on "whoa" on a straight line, and then progressed to doing so on a small circle.  From there came lunging with the rope halter, the addition on a surcingle, a bridle, side reins, long lines and a saddle - all before sitting on him.  Some may say I've gone a little too slow, but I want to be sure that Ryker has the building blocks to succeed when something new is being introduced.  

He has certainly settled into a routine, greeting me in the morning for our early ring time.  Another piece of advice I have been readily given, and take to heart regardless of the horse and situation - keep a routine.  Whether its gallop sets every 4 days  to prepare for a big Event or grooming and riding at the same time every day, there is a lot of merit to keeping a routine.  Steady progress can only be achieved by consistency (within a routine) , this does not mean I do the same thing every day with Ryker - My goal is not to bore him out of his mind, but to give him some sense of security while he is being mentally challenged.

And without further ado, 

Ryker has now been ridden twice, and has been as mellow as can be.  He is very willing and is quite mature (surprise, surprise, since he is 7...).  He has a very basic grasp of lateral aids and he responds very well to contact with a soft mouth. 

I can't wait to really get started now that we're working undersaddle.  So far he has taken to things very quickly - ex. lounging, longlines, poles (at walk and trot) - I can only hope that he will take to questions undersaddle just as quickly.  

 In other news, he got front shoes back on today! He's been a little footsore without front shoes and slightly long toes, especially since the ground has been so hard and unforgiving for turnout.  We'll see if anything changes about his attitude undersaddle. 

Day (I'm not sure any more!) assesment: Quite, Sensitive, and Intelligent. 

Go Ryker! 

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