C has taught me quite a bit over the past month and a bit. With his heel bruise, we were pretty contained to walk work, and mild trot work in the arenas with soft footing. At first I considered this a detriment to our little training regime, but I have quite the opposite opinion now.
The last couple of days have proved to me that the fastest way to develop a horse is slowly.
While his foot was healing, we did huge amounts of lateral work, and encouraged him to get bend and edge more towards supple than stiff. The change in our dressage, when we did start working a little more seriously after he was feeling better, was incredible. He was so much more willing to get soft and round, and had a clearer understanding of what we were asking for in lateral movements.
All that walk work– whether it was dressage, or hacking around the property, or just letting him stretch down while we plodded around the arena– has made C so much stronger. I was chatting to my friend and mentioned he was a 4-year-old, and someone listening in said, “He’s four? He has a great topline for a four-year-old!”
I, for one, know what to thank for that! Walk work, all the way, one hundred percent.
All the walking also allowed me an opportunity to work on my seat. I did a whole lot of bareback hacking, which came in handy (along with C’s shiny new back muscles) when I (oops) forgot my girth after we trailered up for a trail ride!
No girth? No problem! Bareback 2.5 hour trail ride? Sure, why not!
C earned himself many, many carrots that day. He was stellar, and I think all that hacking around the property– getting used to trees rustling, higher winds, spending lots of time outside and getting surprised– prepared him for the trails. This was C’s first ever trail ride, and he ended up being the brave leader of our group! The other two horses, one 16-year-old and one 8-year-old mare, were puffing and blowing at a massive green water silo, and C strolled casually by them and gave them a look that said, “What’s all this drama for?”
Next post will be about some much more exciting news– this will be a little hint.