Today was yet another big day for Pogo - We attempted the trot undersaddle, and it was a huge success. 

Back when I was working with my first fresh OTTB (in less than perfect conditions, and I think I was only 16 or 17, no guidance) it was just get on, and be as good of a team as possible. It was in the breeding shed of a breeding farm and eventually when I trusted he wasn't going to kill me we graduated to the 1 acre pasture, 5 acre, etc. Anyway, open space was my friend as it was the only thing I could think of to get this horse to move on and accept leg. My thought process was: the horse knows how to run, give him the opportunity he will figure it out. We actually never even got to a gallop stage (much less a canter) and to this day this horse was the QUIETEST horse I have ever dealt with ..Since then (and that long struggle with getting all four feet moving) I have learned A LOT about groundwork and how it makes life so much EASIER.

Now with Pogo, we do the whoa and go exercises from the ground. I make what I am asking clear, not confusing and accept the one answer: cluck once, maybe twice = forward moving feet, not sideways, not backwards only forwards. Troubleshoot: one cluck isn't clear = I do once louder, and then resort to making a noise such as tapping my leg with the excess lunge line, usually that is enough. "Whoa" in a clear tone is all four feet stop moving. A more subtle "whoooooaaa" or "eaasssyyy" I use for transitioning gaits. Once I carry this over to a lunge line, I will use for upwards a cluck and "walk on" or "trot on"  or later "Caaanter" 

Now reasons for today's success: Pogo is confident on the ground, however with an english rider with longer legs on his back (as opposed to his jockey), this is all foreign domain. I am first able to ensure he remains relaxed, just by taking it slow and being encouraging but also by carrying the voice commands over to riding and associating them with the leg and seat, gradually allowing him to accept the aids. For now, he whoa's just off the voice, a very good trait!!

Looking back and comparing the length of time I accomplish a trot under saddle between the first horse and Pogo, I would say it happened in the same amount of time, if not faster with Pogo. I wouldn't be surprised if the first horse described was confused, slightly frustrated but Pogo definitely was not and although tentative as it was somewhat new, he was confident in what was being asked. 

Yay for a successful ride!! Looking forward to many more to come from our brave, quiet and level-headed little dude! 

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