It’s always interesting to see how horses handle getting moved to new barns and starting into their new jobs. Since Dixie had been hanging out in a field since July he was not keen on the whole barn concept. His separation from his girlfriend was not helping with his anxiety issues. I have those cross ties that unvelcro when the horses pull back and I love them. Dixie managed to unvelcro my cross ties no matter whether he was on both of them or just tied to one. I was not concerned because I could tell the whole being in the aisle-way of the barn was overwhelming him and he would get over it. Yesterday, he stood cross tied just as nicely as could be and took a nap while I groomed him and tacked him up. He really loved when I curried the spot at the top of the tail. He almost fell over he was so into it! He has gotten a bath, trim of mane and tail and clip job. He’s now looking the part.
Over the past few rides I have been working on teaching dixie how to stretch across the back with a bit of long and low. He is very smart and picked this up quickly. We do a lot of patterns and changes of direction with transitions mixed in. During our flat-work, we might pop over a very tiny jump or go through some ground poles. I try to keep him interested. He’s very easy to ride so far and has been a quick learner. One thing I have found is that like most tb’s he is a bit stiff throughout his body. He’s supple in his neck but not sure how to move his body at the same time. I like to use the exercise when you spiral in and out on the circle and also use the long sides for some easy shoulder fore. I don’t want to fluster him yet since he’s not fit but it’s good to start teaching them now.
Yesterday we cantered for the first time. Cantering can be one of those unknowns. Sometimes they have a lovely trot and the canter is quick and unbalanced so I am always eager to try it out. He has a slow canter which felt a bit downhill. I am sure that is because he still lacks strength and muscle. Our transitions into the canter were quite funny. I always start out easy with just a bit of leg…um dixie are you there? Nope, he needed a big old pony club kick! This guy doesn’t understand what fast is and it can take quite a bit of leg to get him moving. I do always carry a crop but with the greenies I would rather just let them figure it out in the beginning. I don’t care if they run or get unbalanced since they don’t have the muscle to support a good transition at this time. We cantered once around both ways and then stopped. He had a tough time picking up the right lead but he floundered all around and finally found his gear.
He is still scared to walk down the path to the ring. I don’t really blame him since there always seems to be something new on the path. Currently, there is a big 4 horse trailer along the path, a red slide off of a playground laying there, a dog house and then the pen with all the chickens running around. Yesterday, the farm owner parked the manure spreader there. I didn’t make it far before I decided to get off and walk him out to the ring. He was doing his best to be good but he was honestly scared and he was shaking. I could have forced the issue but it wasn’t necessary and I try to stay away from that if at all possible.