At least for one day it seems like spring might be around the corner. There is still some snow on the ground, but it is melting in a hurry. Enjoying the somewhat warmish, cloudy, 50-ish degree weather, I headed out to the barn this evening to meet up with EB to work on Hugo's longeing and also to ride the big bay boy. He is looking great. I think having the winter off just to fatten up was really good for him. His top line has improved greatly and he's tracking up really nicely. He seems to remember where he was with his training last fall and hasn't regressed at all. It's great to be picking right up where we left off. Gold star for Hugo!
Where we left off last fall was:
Hugo doesn't really know how to bend through his body, so I am working him on a lot of circles, leg yielding, and serpentines. He is trying really hard, and doing a great job of accepting contact without pulling on me. Can you say drooling frothy mess? Oh yeah! I was feeling pretty good with him about a half hour into our ride, so I decided to give a little canter a try before calling it quits. He cannot get his left lead canter, but my goodness he has a comfortable rocking horse canter! What a nice surprise. So we will also be working on the left lead a bunch. I'm sure he will get it in no time. He has demonstrated a natural ability to do flying changes in turnout, so clearly it is a training issue, not a physical limitation.
In addition to not knowing his leads, Hugo doesn't know how to pick up the canter correctly. My leg meant nothing to him and he only responded to me making a kissing noise. I HATE THAT! I apologize to anyone that is a western person who likes the kissy kissy canter thing, but in hunter land that is one of the biggest sins in the world. You do not cluck or kiss when you are showing hunters. That is a quick way to lose your class. As such, it is a huge pet peeve of mine. So, yeah, we will be working on erasing his memory of his past western trail horse kissy kissy canter cue and replacing it with the proper leg cue as well.
I feels great to be back in the saddle, and I am looking forward to our (usually) short spring rainy season being over so that I can work with the big boy more consistently. For now though, I am at the mercy of the weather Gods.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!