Today, I want to get back to training my young horses and thinking about winter goals and where they're heading. Flagg and Spider are coming along very nicely. Flagg is growing by leaps and bounds and seems as though he's going to be bigger than I anticipated. He's very comfortable to ride and is generally easy going and forward thinking. If you remember, his main issues are with the contact and he's very busy and too light in the bridle. Coming out today, he was in a bit of a mood. He was a slightly opinionated about how the work was to be done and I was more interested in going forward with steady contact rather than sucking back behind my leg and hand. I needed to go back to bridging my reins and riding smartly forward, even galloping a bit, to get him finally settled into the contact. Even still, he'd drop the contact, toss his head occasionally, and remind me he was not in the best of moods. I did some shallow leg yields, back and forth, to help stabilize the contact in the trot. By the end of the training session, he was much better.
Afterwards, Katie and Rocky led me on a lovely trail ride through the woods. Flagg was fantastic, even when we met up with a coyote on the cliffs. Eleanor thought she'd take the coyote on, but we convinced her to leave it alone and follow us on the trail. Of course, we came to a fallen "tree." Katie and Rocky were fine going underneath, but I was not so sure of wriggling myself and my young horse under the thing (I'm old and not very supple!), so I made her come back and we went around. I vote for a chain saw rather than working through that little situation! I'm thinking I need to get myself a jumping saddle and start doing some cross county riding with this neat horse. I bet he'd love it and it would give me such a nice change of pace. He's got such a big heart and would certainly give it his all, I'm sure. I'll keep you posted!
Spider was the next to go. It's amazing to be able to saddle up a 3-yr old and just hop aboard without lunging or anything. Although he's very "slow and quiet" in his nature, I do believe I can make him "hot" under saddle. He's not nearly as dull as I thought he'd be. We're working on basic swing, elasticity and suppling at this time. We do lots of transitions, very forward riding in trot and have started cantering. He even thought it would be fun to let out a buck today when I insisted that a canter aid meant "canter, NOW!" Good boy! Spider has a very nice feel under saddle. He carries me well and is much different in the contact than Flagg. I like having such different horses to ride. Spider would just assume hold the bit firmly in his mouth and take your hand along, whereas Flagg wants to tuck himself behind and be tight in the neck. Spider is very straight forward and just does figures, transitions and basic suppling exercises. We went for a nice walk with Liz and Doc after through the fields. He's lovely and forward riding out, so maybe tomorrow I'll school in the field and see how he does.
I thoroughly enjoy riding youngsters. I try very hard to keep things routine and consistent, but still add a bit of fun and relaxation. Consistency is so very important in their lives, I can't stress that part enough. More later!