- I have been spending a lot of time working on fencing, leaving little time for riding.
- I am purposefully taking things slowly with him and just getting to know him.
With Rose, I was in a rush. A rush to get in the show ring and prove to myself that I could do this whole horse starting thing. Part of me felt that I had to do that to justify the cost of boarding a showhorse. I am not in a rush this time around, nor do I have a board payment anymore. In hindsight, I realize that I had put too much pressure on myself and Rose. All I am expecting of Gentry at this stage is steering, stopping, and all around good behavior in the saddle and on the ground.
That doesn't mean we aren't working on things though. What I am focusing on in terms of his training at the moment is balance and rhythm. Like most babies, he speeds up and slows down because he doesn't quite know what to do with his body while a rider is on his back. There is only one way to get past that; time in the saddle, a balanced seat, and a soft steady hand.
It is working!
A few minutes into each of our rides Gentry softens and relaxes. He becomes quiet with the bit (stops the nervous baby munching) and he lets out several relaxing exhales. Each ride, we seem to reach this stage a little sooner and the bit munching has subsided tremendously. No flash needed!
So that is what we are working on at all three gates. Balance, rhythm and relaxation. This is my current training focus/goal for now and probably the rest of the winter. Given upcoming weather conditions, and lack of an indoor arena, I probably won't worry about progressing to the next step or getting him over a jump until spring.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!