I must say, as much as I enjoy my job as a school teacher, boy am I glad to be off. This is my second week off and I have enjoyed it very much. I always think it is so important to recharge with such a time-consuming job as teaching and a way I do that is through the horses.
I have managed to ride Harry quite a bit and already I can see so much improvement. When we first started out, he could not trot without literally coughing and spluttering; he is now only coughing once at the start of trot to obviously clear his airways and then he is good as gold. I am taking it as a positive that his fitness must be increasing.
He was also awful at walking over a pole. We are not doing too much formal schooling as fitness is still an issue but I do take him into the stubble field. I ask him to walk over poles and do shapes to help with suppleness and to keep his childlike mind occupied. Deary me though… he would have an active walk up to the pole and then he would just collapse into a slow, lazy walk and hit it. We have managed to work on this though and maintain an active walk over a pole which is great- it really just goes to show how unfit he was.
We have also been working on our walk- halt transitions and transitions within the gait. This is something he finds difficult- he almost crawls into halt rather than a precise transition. He also raises his head as if he has been hauled on at the mouth to stop, rather than going up and into halt while maintaining his frame (side note- I do not ask him to work in any frame at this stage, he just chooses to work in an inconsistent frame now and then).
This is something we will continue to work on. Now is the perfect time really because he is not fit enough to do too much so working on the quality of our walk and transitions is very helpful at this stage.
I also discovered Harry is a little bit nappy when out hacking or trail riding on his own. The other day he decided he had gone far enough and wanted to turn back around. He ended up doing a moonwalk along the path but I held my ground and consistently asked him to go forwards which he did do after some debate. It turns out, the last person who rode him would just say ‘he doesn’t want to go any further’ and let him decide when to go home. That’s definitely not on the cards with me and I think he’s catching on that I won’t allow such behaviour thankfully.
I am really enjoying getting to know all of his little quirks and traits and I am enjoying the progress we are making. He is a pleasure to work with and he’s just so adorable.
I’d really like to get some groundwork done with him too. I’m not someone who just likes to ride, I enjoy groundwork and liberty work so I am going to start including these into our training soon. I think not only is it important to maintain fitness, but it is important to establish and maintain a bond also.
It is clear we are starting to bond which is just lovely. He really enjoys following me around the yard and he’ll come trotting over to me when he see’s me from the field. I look forward to where we are heading 🙂