This year has been a big one for Foster and I. After
the crappiest winter ever basically the whole winter off, we started our spring season with him being lame and myself being busy (wedding planning > riding, and that’s just the way it goes). So it wasn’t until May that we really started to figure out the problem, but after a plethora of treatments he was finally serviceably sound and ready to go.
After that, it was a matter of rebuilding the lost muscle and teaching him to be confident and trust that the movements wouldn’t be painful. We tried very hard to find zen and I rediscovered how much my horse thrives on positive (vocal) reinforcement.
After that things started moving quite quickly, so without writing a novel here are some of our accomplishments this year:
- Acheiving straightness
- Leg Yields at the trot
- Shoulder-in at the trot
- Becoming steady in the bridle
- First gymnastics
- Cantering an entire course
- 1 & 2 stride combinations
- Jumping 3’6″
- 3′-3’3″ courses
- Baby ‘trakehner’
- Jumping in/out water
- Galloping/making time!
- Novice & Training fences
- Jumping downhill/terrain
For myself too, I have seen some improvements:
- Sitting more, using core
- Better elbow-to-bit line
- Looking straight
- Leg Position
- Better release during and after fences
- Better use of positive reinforcement
Overall I am quite proud of what we have done in essentially 6 months of the year. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but of course that is the nature of owning and training a horse. I can’t wait to see what he does next year!