I got a chance to start Halfway back on Friday. I found some drainage at the frog but not much. I am glad it was a short lived abscess!
I thought it would be a good time to teach him to lunge while I was trying to evaluate his soundness. Halfway is the sort that thinks lunging is absolutely pointless. He would go half a circle and then turn around and look at me almost rolling his eyes to let me know what he thought of this whole lunging thing. Kurt was standing outside the gate mumbling stupid horse..um and you have about as much patience as Halfway does :) I sent Kurt off so I could concentrate and tried to convince Halfway to see things my way. I took a bit but darn it by the end I had him lunging to the left and right. NOT a stupid horse but a horse that just needed to be patiently shown the objective of the exercise. I even lunged him over a xrail which he thought was fun.
Lunging is one those things that I don’t always use but it sure is great when they know how to do it. I am always at the prepurchase exams going mmm…I wish this horse lunged a bit better. Now I purposely spend more time lunging them. Also, a great tool to have if you ever get a horse that stops at a fence and is convinced they can’t jump it. Sometimes lunging them over it can be a very useful tool. I try to always take a lunge line when I xc school just in case a horse gets stuck at something. You just get off and break down the exercise until they get it and then get back on. Teaching a horse to lunge over jumps is really very challenging and if you try it at home be prepared to have a few sessions of figuring out how to stand, how to set up the jump, how to get the horse to the jump and how to allow them to jump without pulling on them. It is way harder than it looks but I find it a lot of fun and it allows me to get a chance to develop a relationship with the horse.
Saturday it rained all day so the ride was delayed until Sunday. Halfway felt very eager to work when he first came out. His version of being “up” is to trot faster. Instead of micro managing and pissing off a fresh horse, I just let them have a bit of a trot around with the head in the air or whatever they want to do. He isn’t spooky or silly so let him trot a bit until he takes a breath and then get to work.
He is stiffer on the left side than to the right. I worked on that side more at the walk just pushing him into the outside rein and trying to get him to soften the left side of the jaw. Have to be sure to be careful when going right not to allow the overbend because then he is right back to laying on that left rein. His canter is really coming along and as they get stronger you can sit a little bit. I feel that he is stronger in his back and hind end already. He has such nice gaits and covers a lot of ground for a smaller horse.
I also decided to add in his first jumping session since he felt so good. He was not quite sure but he was really very good! Wiggly but willing to try what I was asking which is all that I hope for in the first jump session. We just trotted back and forth different directions over the two little jumps. He got lots of treats when he was finished!
Make sure you watch to the end to see his cute little jumping and his love of water. He has so much personality! Loves to drink out of the hose and when I fill up his water bucket he likes to dunk his head under the hose. Such a goofball.
Had another fantastic ride tonight just doing a lot of bending work at the walk with some baby lateral movements. He is so smart! We also worked on the trot to canter transition. He is still running into the canter but it will come.