Sorry for not updating so frequently as I have been, life has been a little busy. If you happen to follow any of my other blogs, you may or may not know that I am moving to my own personal facility, so with getting that cleaned up and ready for move in, on top of work and riding all of my other critters, blogging has not been a priority.
Anyway, Stevie is steadily progressing and is learning how to stretch and relax and move forward off of the leg. One thing that really comes to mind with Stevie is that each and every horse is an individual, and no two horses will ever follow the same training path. I do a lot of comparing Stevie to my older horse, but at the same time, they are two different animals. Stevie is a fresh slate, probably has never had a bad hand on him and is fairly young, meanwhile my older gelding had a whole history and life before meeting me and a whole slew of issues that I had to work around before progressing. Both horses because of their shorter backs and I think lack of confidence hate to stretch down and would rather be inverted (maybe also some inherent laziness), but although they are "lazy" both are sensitive and tend to be more forward horses. Ozzy was mentally blown when I purchased him, Stevie luckily is not but I know to be careful because as bold as both horses come across, it's hiding some sort of insecurity and Stevie could in the wrong hands end up a basket case like Oz was 10 years ago.
Pogo was very straightforward, and in some respects Stevie is too...Pogo you could push a little, Stevie is probably best taking a slower path until he is too confident, so Stevie is straightforward in that every days routine is generally the same, kick forward and encourage a relaxed stretch. Pogo you could just throw any question at take it in stride, Stevie will tell you he is not ready.
Anyway, enough of my mental analysis of these things (it could go on forever). But really that's all there is to say. Steve is getting more and more balanced and relaxed and is getting more and more confident in his abilities. I am thinking about maybe starting to jump him soon-ish, when I can get extra hands and a video camera going, just to swit
My apologies for the wonky video taping, but here is Mr. Stevie
This is his forth time under saddle and first time cantering, overall he's a good boy with a phenomenal work ethic and quiet attitude....For those that are not friends on facebook, he has been officially stamped with the "bomb/child/noise/commotion proof" seal, this horse bats an eye at NOTHING
....That if Stevie ever makes an equitation horse, that kid/person/whoever is going to have rock hard abs of steel...Today was Steve's debut trotting undersaddle and as I suspected (due to his build and similarity to my older horse that was nicknamed "the jackhammer") he's got a bounce in him! Potentially one day it will have a floating roll of suspension, but for now, there isn't, but that's okay! Luckily for me, I was that kid/person/whoever for ten years, so it's a ride that I am used to.
I am always impressed when I take this one out to work with. He is always level headed, although on occasion distracted, but never completely unfocused, and so quick to learn. On our first ride, he gave me an awesome relaxed walk, stretching down (making faces and playing with the bit...but still with his nose dragging on the ground, haha).
Today it started much the same and I started to take a feel and he accepted it, not coming onto the bit but not pulling or tossing, etc. This is a horse that knows what he wants and today he wanted to trot, so when I/he was comfortable I set him up to trot and around he went. Our steering progressively got better, as did our falling in to the right (the right after two times around became our good direction). Our rhythm was fairly steady, a welcomed surprise on my end. Even with the occasional dog bark and UPS man dropping off some packages, he didn't bat an eye (he looked, he always looks around if there isn't a pole in front of him on the ground) but went around like it was old hat.
I will try and get some photos and videos up in the near future. He's a doll!
The more and more I play with Steve, the more I really like what I see. It helps that in many ways he is almost a double of my old soul-mate, Oz - nearly the same in conformation, same color bay, but Steve has a smaller head and some white, whereas Oz is the plain brown package..
We have still been lunging but introducing poles to the mix as well. This is not the type of horse you can drill, he easily gets bored and will go off into wonderland in his head and totally blow off everything and maintain that same paced trot no matter what you ask of him. This is partially why I would really love to get him undersaddle and give him something else to think about, but patience is always key!
Today we did more transition work and added more canter than before. Normally, I don't like to encourage the explosion into canter, but I feel like Stevie needs that confidence (ie. that display of extra power) to know he can do it...Odd sounding, I know, but the first steps of canter are generally frantic and he tries to find his feet and then falls into a very lovely rhythm and pace until he spaces out and goes back to that darling trot again....
In revving this guy up to get the energy to canter, he gave a lot of good trot work today. The poles are helping him to realize he can stretch all of his legs, and getting to know me and my expectations better, is helping him to relax and think about stretching down.
He's a real different horse from Pogo, (I have to compare, after all this is the point of this blog, TB's are easy but at the same time all are different!) Pogo had a undying rhythm, but a very down hill balance. This guy is not always as well cadenced but there is another level of athleticism that Pogo probably couldn't dream about (although he was lovely, he always surprised us that he was indeed capable of jumping 3'6" and flying changes, and so forth, haha). The other main difference is the amount of focus. Pogo was definitely a bit nonchalant..he was focused on the task, but didn't necessarily care (we had to start doing courses at 2'6" because he would punch out 2' like it was his job). Stevie on the other hand isn't always focused until something is worthy of his time (for now those ground poles, and cantering but it started off as just trotting in a circle) in which case 110% of his brain is devoted to doing the job and doing it right. Anyway, its fun to compare and I am ready and rearin