Today I rode Zephyr, Raffona, Bellatrix and Orion. I will now post the status of each in regards to what I am currently working on with them.
Z has come a long way in a short time. His weight and physical conditioning are much improved. He is also much more flexible and collected.
He does appears to enjoy having something to do and was really into working today. He quietly took any gait I asked for, on the correct lead every time. We are still working getting him to get his butt under himself and lift his front end, but that will come.
He crossed all the trail obstacles we have laid out right now, with just a little bit of hesitation, due most likely to being alone in the arena. But after a bit he relaxed and took them all in stride.
To sum up, he is a very enjoyable ride, with soft, easy to sit gaits and I am sure he will just get better in time.
Raffona has been and still is, one of my very favorite horses. She is so soft and light to the touch it seems sometimes you can guide her with your thoughts.
I have been working on slow canter and trot, bringing her down closer and closer to doing them in place. She is making very nice lead changes now, looking for the new lead when I turn my head.
Oddly, it is getting her to extend that is proving to be the challenge. If she walked any slower she would be going backward and she opts to try to change gaits rather than extend her walk, trot or canter. I have to admit though, I have been enjoying her slow canter and trot so much I really haven’t worked on her extended movement as much as I should. 🙂
To sum up, if she continues to improve as she has recently, I am probably going to use her as my Palfrey in next year’s Hocktide Emprise.
I hadn’t actually planned to ride Bella today, but while Raina was riding her, our little princess started acting the part and Raina did not want to correct her too forcefully for fear of doing something wrong. So we switched mares and up I climbed.
I instantly noticed how much bigger Bella felt from the saddle than she seems when you stand next to her. This did not feel like some little filly. She felt very much like Orion, but just a little closer to the ground.
For the next 40 minutes or so we walked, trotted and cantered. Her walk is forward and quick, with good flexing. Her trot, soft, with some good speed and extension when you ask for it. Good bend at the pole, but a little bit stiff in her lateral bend. Her canter was a different thing. She really didn’t want to bend or flex at first and would take any opportunity to try to head back to Fona. So we had some words and I put her in some tight circles at the walk and trot before I manage to get her to become a little more supple at the canter. The great thing was, no matter how forcefully I insisted she behave, she never got upset. Her eye was always soft, ears quiet and she would stop and stand anytime I ask her to.
To sum up, Bella is a doll. She has her dad’s steady mind and willingness to try new things and her mom’s drive to compete. When we start her training for the games, I am positive this little tank will be a force to be reckoned with.
What can I say about Orion I haven’t said a hundred times?
In the case of today’s ride, it could be mentioned that he had not been ridden in days and he was not happy about it. Every time this week that I went to the pasture to get someone to work, he stared at me disapprovingly as I took someone else out. So I expected him to demonstrate his displeasure by giving me a hard time. Did he? Nope, not for a second.
From the very beginning he was on his game, giving me exactly what I asked for. Stepping into his collected canter from the standstill, both leads, with his forehead exactly perpendicular to the ground. He went from this canter, to fast hand gallop, to a full charge and back down to a calm standstill with almost no prompting. Keep in mind getting his speed up without making him “Gamey” is what I have been working on lately.
He even cantered beside, behind and in front of Curly without issue, even doing close passes as he changed from one position to the next. Then just to remind both of us how it is done, I rode him with no hands for about 15 minutes, all over the arena, crossing the trail challenges, canter with Curly, turning, stopping and wheeling back into the charge. I eventually rode him to the arena gate, unlatched and opened it, then up to the gate to the barn, unchained and opened it, then herded the goat that had gotten out of the pasture back to where he belonged. Once all this was done, we trotted down to the tie off post. During all of this I never touched the reins once.
To sum up, I love this horse.