10 Days In, Now Two Weeks Off

I am amazed. TJ is the kind of horse that only comes around once in a life time. We have been working under saddle for 10 days- well, more like 7 days of actual ride time (I gave him two days off during the week and then went home for memorial day weekend).

We have accomplished:

  • Being amazing at the mounting block, and not walking off until asked.
  • all hoofies are controlled by me on and off the horse.
  • our walk quality is amazing and 90% self-collected
  • We kick ass at w/t serpentines.
  • Circles are less wonky- maybe 15% of our circles are proper 20Ms, 30% are ovals, the other 50% are just… roundish squares. We’re working on it. 😛
  • SIDE-PASSES! Yes…you read that right! In two sessions TJ can sidepass with a forward thinking brain at a walk.
  • Leg yielding! Because of our work with side-passes, leg yielding is “easy” and falling in place wonderfully at the walk and trot. He is far to green and butt-weak too attempt at canter. I wager once he has his canter figured out and strength it will be an easy modification done in one session.
  • No more balance bucking! Our canter departs on lunge and under saddle are buck-less. I am so happy! I can ride out bucks just fine, but I would rather not. TJ threw one buck on Friday out of being pissy, complete with slashy tail. He was just mad I made his stand up around a corner. He’ll get over it.
  • Transition quality, over all our transitions are prompt and balanced… the dreaded canter is still a little ran into, but with strength we will be more reasonable.
  • Half halts… some days we got ’em on point, other days TJ thinks half halts are imaginary figments of an addled brain pretending to be functional.
  • We rode outside! Twice. TJ was a super star. After our workout I walked him around the farm and driveway… during feed time! I just had to keep a slightly looped rein and relaxed seat. TJ will make a lovely trail horse in addition to his training program. I felt quite safe on my green bean.

Those are our main accomplishments as of late. I have noticed TJ is back sore after 3 days of work in a row. I liniment his back, stifles, hocks, hip bones and hip points liberally after every ride. He also gets 2 30c Arnica Montana after every other ride to help with pain. TJ just doesn’t have the cushion of back muscles to absorb my impact in the saddle. I try my best to manage my weight distribution and hold myself to avoid slamming into his spine. He also lacks the hind motor to power underneath himself.

Hopefully the next two weeks (I will be at a residential staff training for the Summer Camp I work for) will be filled with him just getting fat. His tummy has rounded up nicely from my barn’s 24/7 round bale and 5 LBS complete grain daily. I am hoping that 2 weeks of sitting a mowing down on spring grass/hay/grain will do him good and coat those ribs of his. I feel terrible every time a new person meets TJ, I feel obligated to say “I didn’t do this! I’m trying to get him fat, I swear!” Depending on his condition when I come back June 5th, I will either up his grain poundage or incorporate beat pulp. My Barn Owner has a 50 LBS bag of beat pulp that her show mare doesn’t like, might as well use that up!

Over all, I am so proud of TJ. I will be interested in seeing if TJ retains his skills after his vacation. I certainly hope so! I have a schooling show I am anxious to attend with TJ; even if it is just for exposure to the atmosphere. 🙂

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