“He’s Going to be Big”

This is the first thing that jumps out of people’s mouths when they are introduced to Exavior, usually shortly before, “What possessed you to buy him?”

And yes, people, he is going to be big. By my standards, the dude is already pretty freaking big. I just measured him over the weekend and discovered that my rising two-year-old stands half an inch shy of 15.2 hands. I always used to console myself with, “Well, he’ll be tall, but he’ll be a lanky thing,” until I compared the width of Exavior’s legs and chest with that of a three-year-old warmblood who is already about 16.1. Exavior looks like a carthorse next to him. He’s going to be kind of a tank, and I’m never going to be anything other than a toothpick. A short toothpick. We’ll make quite the pair.

Exavior2
But I loves it anyway.

He’s starting to look rather more regal and rather more like he might turn out to be a horse someday rather than the funny little hybrid llama-donkey thing that all yearlings look like. Well, apart from his hair, obviously. He’s a bit of a yak right now.

October 2014
October 2014

Exavior1
July 2015

Most amazing of all, praise the Lord, his “ruined” leg is not just sound – it’s growing sounder. His near hind fetlock was twice the size of the off hind; it wasn’t hot or painful, but it was massively thick. Now, as you can see, there’s hardly a noticeable difference between the two joints. His pasterns have also straightened out some, and he doesn’t stand cowhocked so much anymore. He still has a bad habit of standing straight with one leg and completely crooked with the other while he’s resting, but he still moves straight, which is the main thing.

Oh, Lord, I can’t wait to see what You have planned for Your miracle horse and me. He shouldn’t be sound but he is. He shouldn’t be with me but he is. He shouldn’t be thriving but he is. He shouldn’t be alive but he is. We shouldn’t be bonding but we are. Bring all the more glory to Your amazing Name through us, Sir. Amen!

Riding on Water Blog Hop: Everyday Win

I may or may not actually be nervous about hosting a blog hop (seriously?), but either way, I thought we’d give it a try. So without further ado, I present the first ever

Don't judge. I had 10 minutes and a blunt pencil.
Don’t judge. I had 10 minutes and a blunt pencil.

Nicole recently hosted a fun (and hilarious) hop showcasing our everyday failures. But while Beka and L. have asked about our most stellar moments, I thought we’d share some of our everyday wins.

So let’s pull out some schooling (or unaffiliated schooling show) photos we’re proud of. Moments where our horses are taking steps to greatness; where they may be a long way from the blue ribbon, but advancing on the right path.

Here was one of the first moments that Arwen and I actually connected properly. I just like the impression of softness and throughness she gives here.
Here was one of the first moments that Arwen and I actually connected properly (March 2013). I just like the impression of softness and throughness she gives here.

Frankly, I like this photo because Arwen is, you know, jumping over the middle of the fence. And I love her expression.
Frankly, I like this photo because Arwen is, you know, jumping over the middle of the fence. And I love her expression.

I just love this photo. His balance, the way he's holding himself, even the way I'm sitting - nothing is amazing, but everything is just nice.
Reed’s first show. I just love this photo. His balance, the way he’s holding himself, even the way I’m sitting – nothing is amazing, but everything is just fine.

I'm proud of this because this was as we were coming out of a really tough patch. That little fence looked HUGE, but we jumped it again and again until it wasn't scary anymore.
This was as we were coming out of a really tough patch. That little fence looked HUGE, but we jumped it again and again until it wasn’t scary anymore.

Arwen at a lesson. I love how she's moving forward in a beautiful frame with her brain on the job despite being on an xc course. If only we could recreate this trot in a dressage arena...
Arwen at a lesson. I love how she’s moving forward in a beautiful frame with her brain on the job despite being on an xc course. If only we could recreate this trot in a dressage arena…

Magic's second training show. I'm proud of us both here because the day before I faceplanted on a jump (see ruined face) and I was dead nervous, but I rode him anyway and he took amazing care of me.
Magic’s second training show. I’m proud of us both here because the day before I faceplanted on a jump and I was dead nervous, but I rode him anyway and he took amazing care of me.

Vastrap3
This is Vastrap’s first training show with me, and here I am proud of his ears. His expression remains the most stubborn relic of his bad past; when ridden he habitually has his top lip poking out, head raised, ears pulled back, eyes wide. But here despite the new environment he found his happy place.

AropNia-Nell2
Nell at her first training show. I’m proud of this moment because seconds before this, she was panicking. It’s just amazing how quickly her brain came back and she could calm down to the point of offering a good free walk.

Praise God for amazing horses, and glory to the King.

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ZBHBH: Everyday Fail

For me, this title can probably be changed to “Fail Every Day”, but I digress…

I failed to see a distance. Magic failed to see a height.
I failed to see a distance. Magic failed to see a height.

Never mind the solid oxer! Photographers are TERRIFYING
Never mind the solid oxer! Photographers are TERRIFYING

How not to dressage. (Proof that Arwen is a saint. Don't worry, we don't do this thing anymore).
How not to dressage. (Proof that Arwen is a saint. Don’t worry, we don’t do this thing anymore).

Mane eating. Third photo from this show that demonstrates epic failure, but really, this was the awesomest show ever.
Mane eating. Third photo from this show that demonstrates epic failure, but really, this was the awesomest show ever.

Down banks: Where horses go horizontally forwards and riders go horizontally backwards.
Down banks: Where horses go horizontally forwards and riders go horizontally backwards.

How not to calm down a panicking baby horse
How not to calm down a panicking baby horse

Poor Magic
Poor Magic

I realise I failed at remembering the halt at the start of Prelim 3. Reed fails to stretch in his stretchy trot.
I realise I failed at remembering the halt at the start of Prelim 3. Reed fails to stretch in his stretchy trot.

That time I paid lots of money and called in lots of favours for a lesson with an international dressage instructor and then we shied at baboons for an hour.
That time I paid lots of money and called in lots of favours for a lesson with an international dressage instructor and then we shied at baboons for an hour.

I don't even know
I don’t even know

Staying in the warmup arena: FAIL.
Staying in the warmup arena: FAIL.

HATE SNAFFLE. SNAFFLE EVIL.
HATE SNAFFLE. SNAFFLE EVIL.

Um...
Um…

I love this blog hop! This must be hands down the funniest one hosted… and it’s given me an idea that may just have to become Riding on Water’s first blog hop.

Praise God for the horses that keep the best of us humble.

The Promise

Dear Horse

Here we stand, you and me; you, half a ton of muscle, nerves, spirit, instincts, past experiences, and emotions; me, about fifty kilos of intelligent, emotional, spiritual human being. You probably don’t believe me, but we need each other.
You see, we stand at a fusion of two worlds – the equine world and the human world. You have been born into the world of men, and you depend on man for your physical, mental and emotional needs. I have chosen to welcome you into my human world, and depend on you to fulfil many of my hopes and dreams; I need you to dream with me, to befriend me. I need you to help me fly.
So here we meet, you and me, at the borders of our worlds; an intersection of species meant to lead to friendship. And I stand before you with a contract as old as men and horses, one necessary to our happiness in this special place between the worlds.
Horse, I am your human. I am also your friend, your teacher, your healer, your caregiver, your protector and your nurse. I am your guide through my world. To be all this, it is absolutely essential that I am at all times your leader. My word is law, my decisions final, and my authority absolute. I will prove to you that I am fit to lead you; you will test my leadership to determine whether I have what it takes to look after you, and I will pass every test of courage, conviction, confidence, knowledge, compassion, loyalty, cool-headedness, and selflessness that you care to throw at me.
You are my horse. You are my friend, but may threaten my life; my student, from whom  will undoubtedly learn; my dependant, upon whom I will daily depend. You are a magnificent puzzle, but you are also my follower and I have dominion over you. As we both know that there can only be one leader, that leader cannot be you because this is my world and the instincts that save you in your world could kill us both in mine. For our safety, you are my follower.
As your leader I am responsible for your well-being. It is my duty to provide you with everything you need: food, water, space, shelter, safety, company, exercise, and medical attention. I will take care of all your daily needs (even if I arrange for someone else to do the chores). When you are hurt or sick or tired, I will nurse you, heal you, rest you and allow your amazingly designed body to repair itself. I will strive to make sure that your tack and surroundings do not hinder your work; that your tack fits and your footing is good. I will ensure that your body is always in a fit state to do what I demand of you.
It is also my duty to be a leader that you feel safe following. By affection, respect, and above all time, I will show you that you can trust me never to harm you. Yet that will only show you that I am your friend; to be your leader, I will prove to you my strength. By setting boundaries, being always consistent, and calmly keeping us both safe in any situation, I will show you that you can trust me always to protect you. I will discipline you and persist with any of my requests until you submit and obey. This I will never do unfairly, but in a way you understand – a way familiar to you from the actions of your dominant equine herdmates. In this manner I will teach you respect for my authority and for the firmness of my convictions. You will learn that I am strong enough and caring enough to be worthy of your perfect trust.
In return, I ask of you only that which is written into the programming of your very soul; perfect trust, a respect of my sensitivity and willingness not to take advantage thereof, and absolute obedience. All these things you would give naturally and willingly to the lead mare of your herd if you lived solely in the world of horses. In the world of men, I am your lead mare.
Your trust in me is essential. If you trust me I can help you and protect you. Occasionally, in healing your injuries and illnesses, I will cause you pain. You have to trust me even despite this pain. Trust is the most necessary ingredient in obedience. It is my quest to be worthy of your trust.
Because I am one-tenth of your size, it will be very easy for you to hurt or even kill me. This will not end well for you since men defend their kindred and a mankiller is automatically an enemy, just as the killer of a horse is an enemy to horses. Also if I am hurt I find it harder to do what I need to take care of you; and it is my duty to my kin to ensure that you never intentionally harm them. Sometimes you will hurt us by mistake. I accept that. But deliberate and unprovoked aggression will never be tolerated under any circumstances and is a terrible fracture of our contract – from both sides.
Your obedience is possibly the most important factor in your happy friendship with mankind. Many of the requests I make will be for our joint mission of working hard and well together, and I must ask that you perform these to the best of your ability. Other requests will be directly important for your safety or even survival. They will not make sense to you, but it is essential that you obey me unhesitatingly. Remember that you can trust me; I act for your good and our pleasure.
Horse, in order for us both to transcend mere survival and attain a thriving enjoyment of our lives, I must make one more demand. I ask that you give me the very best of your physical performance. While I may yet be smarter, more spiritual, wiser, and closer to God than you are, I am undoubtedly far from you physically. Your majestic body leaps, runs and dances with a power and grace I will never attain. I ask to borrow some of that power when I am astride you; I ask you to leap as high, run as fast and dance as gracefully as you possibly can, for me.
But oh Horse, I know I can only ask this when our relationship transcends leader-follower and into the true deep friendship that crosses effortlessly, joyously the border between our worlds. In my leadership and your obedience, we express our unspoken and unspeakable love for one another. My dominion over you was ordained by the Lord my God, Who made us both (and Who perhaps you know just a little when you listen to His voice in the wind you make when you run). When I am a good ruler over you and you are a good and wholehearted follower, we can attain the endless joy known only by creatures doing that for which they were created.
Better yet, we express the love we feel so deeply for Him Who created us.
Mighty and beautiful Horse, you cannot read this letter. You know nothing about words or writings, communicating meaning in silence the way you do; you don’t need the cumbersome letters to say what you have in your heart. Your feelings are written across every line of your breathtaking body. It would make it easier if you could read and understand this, but you never will; instead, see this in the lines of my body, in my own silent communications with you.
It would take years, but if we both followed this promise perfectly, we would have a perfect friendship. Unfortunately, we won’t. We will have bad or tired or annoyed days, and we will both break our promises.
But we can still have a very good friendship. And here in the world of both horses and men, very good is quite amazing.

SFTSBH: Heart Horse

Jen from Stories From The Saddle asks:

Do you currently have your “heart horse”? What makes a “heart horse” to you? If you don’t own a horse, have you ever leased a “heart horse”? 

I encounter so many horses, with up to 20-25 different ones to ride in a week, that I’ve learned two things: 1) All horses are amazing, 2) regardless, certain horses just click with certain people, irrespective of whether they are actually that person’s favourite colour/breed/age/level of training.

So for me a heart horse is literally that horse that makes your heart turn a cartwheel and stop in its tracks, that makes it beat slower and faster at the same time. For those of us who are a little besotted (i. e. me), a heart horse makes you hot and cold all over and yet when you’re in the saddle you feel like nothing is too hard for God and you and that horse. It’s a lot like falling in love with exactly the right person (I imagine, anyway), only without having to make coffee and remember birthdays and run the risk of them suddenly not being who you thought they were. Horses don’t lie.

To me a heart horse is simply, at its core, utterly compatible with me, no matter how wrong the size or level of training. For me obviously they’ll all share similar characteristics because I like certain things in a horse. They’ll all be generous, with a good eye, a good walk, tremendous loyalty, and a big heart.All of my own horses are heart horses for me, and I was just ridiculously blessed because I only ever picked out one of them. The rest just sort of fell in my lap, as perfect as they are. But you’ve all heard so much about them that today I’m going to describe three horses that are absolutely heart horses, which I don’t own and never will, but I’m quite happy to run the risk of heartbreak rather than keep these bright spirits at arm’s length.Double Reef was probably the first OTTB I ever rode and, unlikely as it seemed at the time, I loved him. He was 16.3 hands of dark bay moodiness who didn’t think twice about aiming me a kick or a bite, but once I was on him he carried me as proudly and as carefully as if I was made of fine china. Once a top racehorse, Reef was sold on after racing to an owner that severely neglected him. When I met him he was the most pathetic, skeletal sight I’d ever seen, and his perfect legs, enormous eye, and chiselled features only made it worse; he was the stern sad ruins of a castle, not a tumbledown shack. With care, the Mutterer nursed him back to his fiery dark finery and he went on to teach countless kids how to ride. He taught me leg-yields and everything I needed to know about thoroughbreds and ridiculously long takeoff distances. He never shed his characteristic grumpiness, but we used to trust him with our four-year-old Down’s syndrome student because Reefer would have broken his own legs rather than allow any harm to come to that little boy.Double Reef was grumpy enough but in his heart he loved his job and, above all, he loved to run. It was easy to see why he campaigned successfully until the age of seven. There was nothing he relished more than snapping out his endless legs to their full length and eating up the ground in gigantic strides that left me breathless and clinging to his torrent of dark mane. He had an enormous heart.Reef is now semi-retired and I haven’t ridden or even laid a hand on him for years, but he’s one of those horses I’ll never forget.Not long after Reef left my life, I met Reed, who was his carbon opposite on the outside but within he was very similar. Reed was a 14.1 pony stallion and may have been nothing to write home about if it wasn’t for his amazing temperament and his dazzling colour. He was the most golden palomino I’ve ever seen, dappling gloriously in summer, with an attractive little head. And I’m not a pinto fan, but his white patches just made him prettier. He was almost excessively polite and friendly and didn’t have a grumpy hair on his head. But he too was gentle, willing, and loved his work. He had a surprisingly long stride and stylish bascule for his size and conformation, and I trusted him with everything in me. Beginners could ride him, and frequently did. In the time when he was in regular training, he would have done anything for me. He even cleared 1.20m with me once, which he really shouldn’t have been capable of. If I’d had more time I could have helped him become an awesome child’s event pony.Reed was the first client horse to break my heart and I don’t think he’ll ever be the last. After a super summer of steady training, the influx of young horses his owner needed backing pushed him off my schedule a little and a few months ago he was eventually sold on to the other end of the country. He’s gone to a high-profile home, but I’ll always miss him.wpid-img_48255714538967.jpegSurprisingly enough, for all my fear of stallions, my third client heart horse is also a stallion. We call him the Storm Horse: a magnificent grey tempest of a horse, a Nooitgedachter stallion of the highest standard, standing nearly as tall as the top of my head and appearing four times bigger from his sheer overwhelming presence. When he walks in, you know about it. He has a commanding presence, a regal power about him that you can’t help but notice. And he wasn’t piece of cake to train: smart and tenacious as he is, as a colt he used all of his intelligence and resilience to resist everything the Mutterer wanted him to do. It took quite some time for him to decide to use his powers for good, but once he did and the stud could show him he raked in National Champion Nooitgedachter stallion in-hand and under saddle without apparent effort.
But somehow (and how the Mutterer predicted it, nobody knows) the big stallion just decided to give me his gentler side. He has a reputation for being dangerous, but he’s never attempted to hurt me. He moves around me with a half-awkward carefulness, akin to the way a big man holds a baby, and has never put a foot wrong with me on his back. That gentleness, the obvious joy he takes in his own power, and his faultless fidelity must be what attracts me so much to him, but one thing is obvious: the Storm Horse chose me for his human, and it doesn’t look like he’s going back on that choice.Thanks be to God, and glory to the King.

Unofficial Blog Hop: Instructors

Emma first brought my attention to the discussion of the various trainers – instructors, in the more British dialect we use in South Africa – we’ve chosen, and why we picked them and stick with them.

If you’ve been around Riding on Water for any amount of time you’ve undoubtedly become acquainted with the quirky but inimitable Horse Mutterer, my instructor of eight years – amounting to the vast majority of my riding career and not far from half my life. Geez, the Mutterer has been teaching me ever since he was just a pair of nostrils and a ponytail floating somewhere above my head. Although, come to think of it, that’s still a fairly accurate description of my view of him, minus the ponytail (to my mother’s unspeakable dismay).

My mom first recruited the poor unsuspecting young Mutterer – then only a few years older than I am now, but already boasting a total of over 700 horses he’d put under saddle and innumerable blue ribbons won in the showing arena – to teach my sister and I when I was ten years old in the spring of 2007. How exactly she stumbled upon him, I don’t remember. I was too little to care.

We then owned two horses that had been running around in the veld for several years; a goldenhearted old chestnut gelding by the name of Rivr, and Skye. Poor Mom had been dragging Skye and I around our little round pen (the remains of which my current ring is built from) for months and I was still refusing to suffer her to let go of Skye’s bridle. I also rode (for want of a better word) bareback, mainly because none of us had the foggiest idea of how you put on a saddle. The Mutterer arrived and promptly strapped his virtually indestructible trail saddle onto Skye’s back, plonked me unceremoniously upon it and sent us forth, sans lead rein. I was much more afraid of the Mutterer than I was of falling off, so I obeyed, clutching poor Skye, doing splits on his saddle (I was much too small for it then, and always will be) and, after a few minutes, enjoying myself hugely.

Whereupon the Mutterer summed up what has been basically my entire riding career to this point, with characteristic accuracy and economy of words: “She rides good, but she’s scared.”

In a matter of two years, buoyed by a tide of my unquenchable enthusiasm, under the Mutterer’s guidance I went from jumpy beginner to fearless kid who could, and would, ride anything with four legs and stay on top. It was four years after my first lesson with him that I landed my first paycheck – from one of his clients.

The Mutterer is about as atypical and yet exemplary a riding instructor as you can get. At shows people don’t spare a second glance for this tall, silent man leaning on the rails in jeans and sneakers while everybody else’s trainers are running around screaming “MORE LEG!” in their white breeches and long boots. Shouting has never suited either of us well; it makes me nervous, and it makes him hoarse, besides which the Mutterer seems to consider that once I’m in the show arena his job is done – it’s up to me then. He was also deeply disinterested in teaching me forward seat, rising trot without stirrups, or diagonals as a novice. Instead I learned how to warm up and cool off my horse by myself, how to mount without a girth (the one lesson where I came perilously close to finding a ladder and strangling him), how to work my horse equally on both sides, and what to do if she started bucking. Later on he would never teach me the aids for shoulder-in, travers, half-pass, or turn on the haunches. He taught me how a horse responds to pressure, and how to teach him to do so, and from that I’ve often believed that I could teach my horse basically anything.

Why do I stick with the Mutterer when I think I could learn more about seat and technique from a top competitive rider? For two main reasons; the first being that as a horseman, and in his understanding of the mind and body of the horse, I consider him utterly unsurpassed and have never had a reason to revise this theory. And secondly because the Mutterer and I just really get along. Over the years we’ve built a student-teacher relationship that blurs the line into friendship despite the gap of thirteen years between our ages. His oddball teaching methods are absolutely compatible with my even odder learning methods. A lot of students who would have been surprised by how far he could have taken them have quit after a few months of lessons because it’s just too hard. You need to half kill yourself trying before he considers you worthy of any form of encouragement. He doesn’t want you to ride for his praise, but because you cannot imagine not riding. For me, who rides for pretty much this reason, and to whom praise in the mouth of strangers always tastes of arsenic’s sickly tang, it works.

And I thank God that it does.

Arwen5

Halfway There: Goal Review

So according to the logbook I keep of all my rides/sessions, I finished 616 sessions so far in 2015. The majority of this will be riding, but there’s also a lot of lunging and long-lining and free jumping in there, and loading and halter training… and if I have to hold a particularly difficult horse for feet/teeth/whatever, I count that, too. Cuz I can.

That’s about 300-450 hours, which is cool but I can do better. So maybe in the next half I shall!

Anyway, wannabe brag material aside, here’s a review on some real goals:

Arwen

  • Get her fit – Gotcha! She’s lost a tad of fitness now, with being a little under the weather over the weekend and having a slow week due to rider having to be in two places at once, but nothing major. To finish with 0.4 time penalties on cross-country at Springs, especially considering how spooky she was to the jumps, she’s got to be fit enough for her level.
  • Build her upper neck muscle
  • School Elementary Medium successfully – We knew the dressage goal was going to be the slow and tedious one. Still hammering on this. Dressage ain’t a thing you can really force, so we’re not too panicky about achieving this – quality work over chasing levels.
  • Introduce scary-looking jumps – We can keep working on it, but we haven’t had a stop in competition since March. She’s getting much more courageous. We worked on solid skinnies and spooky tires at home.
  • Have her go through water more easily
  • Show graded in EV70 – We did AND IT ROCKED. Okay, so there was no dressage, but who’s counting? We were 8th in a class of 31. I count that as achieved.

Achievin'!
Achievin’!

Exavior

  • Complete advanced halter training
  • Leading over, through and under scary things – Busy on this, but not quite done with going over spooky stuff yet.
  • Leading away from his group – We’ve got this. No screaming, no jogging on the way back, no napping. I’ll take it.
  • Bathing – We got halfway with this and then winter came; we’ll resume in summer.
  • Desensitisation to noise and sight  – I flapped my jacket all over him. He went to sleep. Mission accomplished.
  • Loading preparation – work in progess; I still want him to go over a tarpaulin.
  • Loading
  • Injections – Some improvement, but we’re not there yet
  • Be gelded – Probably going to be postponed to next winter.
  • Lowering of the head when requested by pressure on the halter
  • Basic lunging with a halter and long line only – This is fine.
  • Leading from the right – I totally forgot this (it’s been a few years since I raised my own baby) but it’s a handy skill. Working on it now.
  • Wearing a roller
  • Lunging over poles
  • Preparation for clipping – I don’t have clippers yet so…
  • Wearing boots – All these lunging-related goals will most likely will be left for next year unless he suddenly matures a lot. Being a warmblood, he’s really not at the same level of physical or mental maturity as Thunny was when he was this age. I’m using my work with Thun as a baseline because it’s the best experience I have, but while Thunder knew all this by the end of his second year, Exavior isn’t going to get there. I want him to get on the horsebox, lead from the right, and walk a few nice laps on the lunge and then he’s going back out of work for a little while, maybe even to the end of the year, except for a couple of baths and talking about injections. No point in cooking a baby brain, and he can go out and horse for a while with no damage to his people skills.

Magic

  • Improve fitness
  • Tie up – He will still fly back if something truly upsets him, but he now stands tied really nicely for his grooming every morning and if he steps back and feels the pull, he yields to pressure instead of losing his brain. Honestly, few horses will stand tied under pressure, and the skill isn’t important enough in my situation to break even more halters and potentially necks. I’m okay with him now; daily tying for grooming will serve to improve this skill gently over time.
  • Load
  • School Novice – I’m going to call this one a win, for a horse that is probably never going to compete in stressage. I practiced Novice 1-3 on him over and over again preparation for Arwen’s show and he was really good, even with the French link on. Leg-yields are also almost there, after all, Novice only requires H-L level of leg-yields.
  • Survive a hack – We went to the end of the road and back without dying, but that doesn’t count as a hack, so I’m not crossing this out just yet.
  • Be confident at 80cm
  • Show graded at 70cm showjumping – We jumped a terrifying and wonderful clear at 70cm at a training show, so we’re making our way towards this! Our next show will be 50cm, 60cm and 70cm again, and then I’ll play it by ear as to whether we do 80cm next show. My criterion for going graded is single and simple: I want him to walk into the arena and know exactly what he is supposed to do. No point in paying the earth to take a spooky baby to a show and have three stops by the second jump. When he goes in and says to me, “OK, I know what we do now,” then we can move on to graded. The height does not seem to be an issue but he likes to halfway stop at his first few fences every show, so I want to eliminate that first.

Less of this babyness...
Less of this babyness…

Thunder

  • Fix his mild tendency to get in your space
  • Get him to stand dead still for a bath
  • Introduce flying changes – Ugh. I suck so much at flying changes. SO MUCH. I can’t get them out of Arwen yet, so poor Thun hasn’t even really been asked for them yet. Still striving for this but I won’t force him and make him worried.
  • Introduce rollbacks
  • Improve on sliding stops, spins and rein backs – This is an ongoing goal but we’ve already made HUGE improvements. Like, we actually slide in our sliding stops! Spins are at least a little smoother if reeeeaaaally slow (Friesians don’t do fast until they spook), and rein backs are appropriate for his level, we get 10 steps in style and 15 sloppy steps if I beg.
  • Log as many trail miles as possible – Work in progress. I am getting so tired and bored with hacking alone, but it’s just a matter of making myself do it. As soon as I have a really cool hack horse again I’m sure my motivation will get better, but I need motivation to get that really cool hack horse ready!

O summer coat, when dost thou return?
O summer coat, when dost thou return?

All in all, I’m quite happy with our progress so far, mostly because not only have we been getting results but we’ve been improving relationships. And ultimately, that’s what horsemanship is all about. Glory to the King ❤