Sunday, 14 April 2013

Big catch up

My goodness, I've been an awful blogger lately! I do apologise, I'll do a catch up post to make up for it.
Sundance and I have been working really hard since my last post. We've been focusing on bringing his back up and really working his muscles. It took some time for him to understand, but he's getting there, he's starting to bring his back up when I ask and drop his head a little. At this point I don't care how low his head is, he can be sniffing the floor if he wants, as long as he's working his back muscles and learning to round himself out. We are having times where he's dropping his head into contact and coming onto the vertical nicely but that's not my focus right now. My focus is to get him working his back muscles properly and coming round, head position will evolve over time. It takes a long time to build up topline so I'm not expecting him to have a perfect 'head carriage' straight away.

We've also been working hard with our canter. Transitions into canter and then slowing down the canter. Transitions are getting much better, 95% of the time now when I ask for canter I have it within 2 strides so that's a huge improvement on a month ago when it was about 40-50% of the time. He still occasionally bucks into it but that's getting less frequent and much smaller so we're getting somewhere with that too.
Getting him to slow down was something I thought would be harder but he actually figured that out really quickly. He had the idea that canter meant as fast as you possibly can without galloping, so I worked on some canter poles with him to teach him to think about his canter and shorten his stride. I'm not exagerating when I say it had an effect in one session. The next session, no poles, he was much more calm in canter and would canter much more slowly around the school. Third session I could canter him on the buckle without him speeding up and after a couple more we're now doing 20m circles in a lovely controlled canter. He's keeping the canter up for longer also and learning to bend more, the other day we managed 3 10m circles in canter on the correct lead without his head exploding. I can happily canter him in an open field without him speeding up and bring him straight back down when I want. I'm very proud of how far he's come with this considering at the beginning of the year he could just about canter the long side of the school and then fell out.

I lunged him last week for the first time since November. In an open field, on a hill,with side reins (after we'd warmed up obvously) with horses being brought in past him and he didn't put a hoof out of line. Perfect transitions and his attention was on me at all times. I was so proud of him!
Other than that we've just been having some fun. He's actually so lovely to ride at the minute and we're having a brill time. I'm planning to take him for some little XC schooling next weekend so we'll see how he is there, just want to get him out this year and have some fun with my little guy.
Speaking of which, he's also grown! After being just on the cusp of 14hh for over a year, he's had a spurt and now he's 14.1 and a half, very almost 14.2. Shot up this year bless him! He'll be 5 next month and he's becoming so grown up :)


Dad and Bella have been working hard too, I've ridden her a couple of times and Hannah came out to ride her the other day, popped her over a jump in the field and had a good time with her. The sad news is that Bella is for sale. Circumstances have changed unfortunately, I'm not going to go into it on here as it's private but we are looking for a lovely new home for her :(

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