I'm having such a great time with the young horses I have in my barn. Flagg is such a joy to ride. He's easy going, comfortable and always eager to please. He's an interesting ride for me since I've never ridden anything with such a rubbery neck. He's very light in the hand and has the tendency to come very short in the neck. It's giving me the opportunity to learn new skills. The most important one being that I can't mess with the bit. It's very important to ride this horse from behind and ride really forward to the quiet bit (of course, that's important with all horses, but it's evident with him since his neck will become six inches long if you're not really careful). He needs to go very forward, like all young horses, and needs to really move in order to swing his back and lengthen the neck. His canter is his better gait at this point. He's in a very awkward growth stage with short front legs and mile long hind legs. He hits himself in trot and feels quite downhill. His canter has a lot of jump, so he finds it easier to keep his front legs out of the way. Of course, he can't canter around all the time, but we do lots of transitions between trot and canter. He isn't very fit, so he can't work for long. Luckily, he's a very good boy and I don't have to longe him before I ride. I feel like I'd be wasting his energy if I needed to work him on the line before riding him.
Spider is such a sweetheart. He has perfect manners in the barn and watches with interest the whole time he's getting ready to work. He loves to wear his "big boy" clothes and opens his mouth wide for the bit when you hold it up for him. He's so adorable. I can stand directly in front of him and simply hold the bridle open and he takes the bit into his mouth. He LOVES it!
Yesterday, there were random sun spots in a corner that were very concerning to him. Unfortunately, his tendency was to want to spin around and go the other way. It was very hard for him to accept that he was allowed to run by the scary spot, but he couldn't turn and run from it. He became a little upset on the longe since I made it very clear that under no circumstances was he to turn around and had to go forward. Once he realized that his behavior wouldn't be tolerated he began to work by the scary sun spots. He'd race by them on occasion, but I could accept that response. He quickly calmed himself down and realized they were not that scary.
As you know, we've only sat on Spider a couple times. I brought him over to the mounting block and climbed aboard. He walked around the ring, by himself, learned to turn right and left, stop and go, and was perfect. He could even go to the scary places! He seems to gain confidence from a person on him. I suspected this would be the case since he likes to hide behind the other horses or a person if things are concerning to him. As long as someone tells him it's "OK," he's good to go. Being on his back, you can easily say "you'll be fine, I'm right here with you." He's so charming and will certainly make someone an unbelievable riding horse. It helps that he's huge and gorgeous!