Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Turning a corner?

Updates have been few and far between because it bores me to even think about posting multiple times a week like "worked on outside aids 4 times this week" and "noticed slight improvement yesterday, today seemed a step backwards" blah blah blah.  I have also been trying to minimize my time at the barn outside of my weekly lesson since he really needs the dedicated trainer time and I have been able to see more progress by seeing him less often.  So I do short hacks focused on simple things instead of longer working rides and leave the real work to our trainer.  Training in winter was an excellent decision!

On the Routeburn track
I am cautiously optimistic that this is paying off and Fawkes might actually be turning a corner in his training.  Our lesson on Saturday was pretty fabulous.  Instead of a baby step maybe maybe not improvement I felt a large noticeable difference in my ability to straighten him off the rail using my outside aids.  He still defaults to blowing through the shoulder but I was able to stop it twice and after that he didn't try again.  That is definitely a first.  We did an in and out with cross rails and he was perfect.  Even with baby jumps he feels really different, he is getting closer to the base (at the trot) and is much less tense.

Some of that stuff was so ingrained that I didn't even notice he did it, I am only realizing it now that it has changed.

His canter was a little stiff on Saturday but he warmed up into a really nice, soft canter.  It is still an awful lot of work and calf to hold him in that really nice canter.  Worth it, and as he gets stronger and builds up his back muscles that will get easier and easier.  He was lifting his back more in the trot which hopefully means his back is feeling better.

Looking at Lake Wakatipu. One day horse pictures, I swear.
Friday was new shoes day and getting rid of his front pads - so far so good being bare in back and just shoes in front.

The real kicker for improvement was yesterday.  I had a rare work holiday (this is one of the few "extra" days off we get) and had an amazing ride.  He was the most relaxed I have ever felt.  3 different people commented on how relaxed he looks so it wasn't just all in my head.  It was warmer so he didn't start out stiff at all and he was totally happy to trot around with his head down and actually using his hind end.  The canter started out nice and stayed that way.  After cantering, he quickly settled back down into that lovely trot.  We added poles and he went through them steadily.  I literally had zero complaints.  It was an easy, fun ride with no stress.

Trainer R had mentioned that she was done installing basics and expected him to start to progress more quickly now but this still kind of caught me off guard.  This horse has lept back to the starting line too many times for me to get my hopes too high, but could this be him turning the corner and growing up?  Could we finally lose the drama and make it work?  I sure hope so.

At our old barn, about a year ago.  

1 comment:

  1. Fingers crossed that he really is turning a corner! Sounds like some great progress. And if you don't have horse pictures these landscapes are a perfectly acceptable substitute, so freaking gorgeous!