Last night, I wasn't planning on doing much work with Moon, since there was a brisk wind and a chill in the air. After stopping by to run a brush over him (he's shedding out a beautiful dark chestnut), I couldn't help myself. While the ground was wet (again) after the weekend rains and snow, I wanted to get some practice in. I once read that horses learn best if taught 2 days in a row, rather then having space between their lessons. Now, this makes me think that if I'm starting riding lessons with Wendy, on say Wednesday nights, that I need to be out riding Moon on Thursdays, so we can drill in the lesson from the day previous.
My thought, was that if we did some transition and lunge training yesterday, after meeting the new coach tonight, I could head out, and put him through his paces over some poles, as the next step in the lessons. Unfortunately, looking outside today, that's not going to happen. It's pouring rain, again.
I am content though, that we did some work last night. I got him into his leather cavesson (and I can tell he hates the thing), and took him far into the field where we began trotting and walking the circle. He really has a nice movement in all fairness, though he still doesn't get his head down. He tracks up into his front hooves, and really, had a nice high-stepping action. Unfortunately, he's the furthest thing from a western pleasure horse, neck vertical and head held high.
He did a few short canters for me as well, which was really nice to watch. Unfortunately, with the ground conditions and size of the circle, I called him down after less then a revolution. Just don't need any injuries right now!
We worked mainly in a counter clock-wise direction, or of a random choice of mine then his preference. Finished off going in the other direction, and my only other big complaint is his downward transitions. He's really not quick to walk from trot, nor stop even from a walk. One more thing to work on.
After we finished our lesson (he wasn't sweaty, but was warm, which considering the strong breeze and cool temperatures, was plenty good enough), I took off his head-gear and let him free.
...and he hung out with me. Together, we walked the 700 or so feet back from the far reaches of the pasture to the front gate, with him diligently behind me the whole way. Even with dinner and the other horses up the hill watching him and him being free to bugger off, he stayed with me.
As my first horse, this was truly special. To me, this showed a bond or a respect between myself and Moon, where I have something to offer him that he's taking preference to over other horses. I was his guide, his leader. It felt amazingly good, and made the cold wind just disappear. He certainly got a couple treats for his efforts.
Some other observations I had, was that he has some very obvious stomach muscles. I've groomed a LOT of horses over the years, and his are very visible. I'm not sure if this relates to his chunkiness, to his slightly dipped back or his lack of fitness. Certainly something to watch and observe any change in.
I did find that he's missing a small chunk of hoof on his right inner hind hoof, and the hoof wall has grown a fair bit from his last trim. Looking closely though, in some instances, it seems like removing that hoof wall would mean his frog is making significant contact with the ground when he moves. I would think this would cause discomfort, especially when working on gravel or hard surfaces.
I thought it wonderful on our last trail ride, that he wasn't a big wimp when riding on the gravel roads. At times he seemed a little sensitive, but by and large, we could trot on the shoulder without problems.
So, it seems that I made good use of yesterday, and now must contain myself until I make it out to our potential new 'learning centre'. I love, love, love lessons, and can barely contain myself to get started! But have to remind myself to ease in slowly, as not to overwhelming poor Moon.
And to prep, I drafted myself a little 'Goals' list:
- Work thru Equine Canada's English Learn-to-Ride Program
- Develop Moon into a more responsive, english horse
- Create clear direction and activities when practicing or training at home
- Address horse-related knowledge gaps (e.g. bridle and saddle fit...they *seem* right, but what do I know!)
- Opportunity to focus on getting or changing the response to cues/aids at home (e.g. lunging with high head; shortness of square halt)
- Possibility to attend our first shows (dressage, show jumping, evening), even if just at a schooling or introductory level
What I want to do:
- Would LOVE to some day coach others in the basics of riding
- Would LOVE to try cross-country
- Would LOVE to have a training plan, with something to specifically work on each time I'm out
- Would LOVE to take lessons for at LEAST a solid year, no big gaps, with the same person
And lastly, would love to get out of the office now, with no traffic between me and stable, and the rain to let up so I can at least groom my pony while I'm out there!
We can all dream, right?