Australian Brumby Challenge ©
This week was focused on getting Solo’s confidence up with having someone above him and on him.
On Monday we went for a drive to the beach and had a friend with us who rode her pony while I stayed on the ground with Solo. Caroline's pony Shakti is a colt and it was good to see that Solo was able to ignore him like any other horse even though Shakti was very interested in him, and only enforced his personal space when Shakti decided that sticking his nose under Solo's flank was a good idea and even that was after giving him the opportunity to move away by himself.
Caroline rode ahead, behind and off to either side of us and Solo didn't feel any need to leave but was happy to stay with me at what ever pace I set, be it walk, trot or halt.
This will all be good when transferred under saddle as I will expect him to be just as happy riding alone as with other horses, and to stay at the pace and position in the group I ask.
On Tuesday Solo had a visit from Candice Dickson from Equine Equilibrium. Candice is a qualified Osteopath and all round magician when it comes to keeping horses, dogs and humans psychically sound.
She was impressed and surprised with how he handled the whole session, mentioning she has worked with many young horses who couldn't handle more than 20 minutes of treatment, while he accepted a full body treatment with only a few moments of wanting to be elsewhere! She also thought he was ridiculously cute and doesn't think she would be able to let him go if she were in my position!
Solo has some existing wear and tear through his lumbar region but Candice was able to realign him with some massage and manipulation and he is already moving a lot freer through his rear end.
She also picked up on the tension through his lower neck muscles and jaw and has left some post treatment exercises for me to do with him. He has started to relax his head and neck down more and more during work so this combined with the post treatment exercises should see this resolved soon.
I gave him Wednesday off and Thursday started a bit rough, with me finding out I've sprained a ligament in my pelvis (none horse related) and that I shouldn't be riding at least for a few days, but finished on a good note, after I went for a ride ;)
It was the first time I'd been on Solo since Sunday when he was still really uptight and not willing to move. After the trip to the beach on Monday when Caroline rode her pony next to Solo though, it seemed that he had regained some confidence in having someone above him and when I stood on the mounting block he didn't move or flinch.
We had gone for a drive to visit my dad so I had some assistance. To start with I just wanted Solo to gain confidence in moving with me on his back again without me asking anything so my dad gave all the cues from the ground. It didn't take long till Solo was stretching his head down in relaxation.
I then introduced the cues from the saddle which concerned Solo for the first few asks, but with the support from the ground he quickly relaxed again. The same thing happened when we had our first trot but in no time at all Solo was trotting on a long and loose rein.
I left it on that great note and gave him Friday to process. Walk and trot under saddle was my main goal for this last two weeks and it is great to have achieved it!
On Saturday he was in an interesting frame of mind and while he is generally focussed on me, always trying to understand what is being asked and will stand for as long as I leave him somewhere, on Saturday he was distracted and just wanted to head back to the paddock. We went back to square one and did some work in the round yard to refocus him and it didn’t take long at all.
We then started the training process for self loading onto the float and got as far as having him walk onto the ramp but and stay there. We will continue to work on this until he self loads and stands inside without feeling the need to get out. This will be achieved by making the float his rest spot, where I leave him be and remove all pressure.
Sunday he was back to his usual self and we did a bit of work on his send off from the ground and then had a big grooming session to get rid of some of the hair that is now coming out in handfuls with the longer days! His summer coat looks like it is lighter than his winter coat and super silky.
I didn’t get to mouthing him this week but will do so in the coming weeks.
Next week I will continue to work on self loading onto the float and further his ridden work at home with the plan of going for a trail ride next Saturday!