With Bo starting to gain a bit of fitness, we had our first schooling session this week and it went really well. We started off by walking around the arena in hand. It was a little bit windy and Bo had his bug eyes on looking around in his wee unsure way so we had a walk about to help him relax before I got on.
I always think it’s so important to take your horse as they are on the day. It would have been silly of me to just get up and basically tell Bo to be quiet. He was telling me how he was feeling and all he needed was a bit of time to get used to his surroundings. As a result of listening to him, I was confident he was in a good place to work and it ended up being a really good schooling session.
After our walk, we then started with some transitions between walk and halt and did a few changes of rein. I had also laid out three poles so we worked over them in different ways also.
Then we picked up trot and did quite a good workout. We worked on lengthening and shortening our strides and lots of transitions. The main aim of this session was to get Bo listening, hence why we did lots of changing of gaits, speeds, directions and we worked over the poles again in trot.
I had laid them out similarly to how my instructor did in my lesson last week, with 3 poles and the middle one being slightly off to the right. That meant we could work on going over two or three different poles and at different times. It’s a really good exercise I found to ensure your horse is listening to you. Bo gets quite excited when it comes to poles or jumps and he gets a little strong, so working over different poles in different combinations made him stop and think more. I’d like to get these up to jumps once he is more fit.
It was then time to cool off. Bo was a little sweaty afterwards so I took a good amount of time to let him cool off. I am a big believer in getting off to cool my horse down. A great instructor once told me:
The kindest thing you can do for your horse is get off.
I always get off, loosen my girth and walk around, usually talking to Bo as I go. It’s a good way to reflect on where you are, what you could have done better and what you might do next time, and the horse appreciates it also.
It felt so good to get him working again and doing so well in his bitless bridle also! We didn’t do any canter work as I’d like Bo to be a little more balanced before we do that, I think if we attempted it now it might end up being a bit jelly-like so best to wait until we’ve got going a bit more I think!