My youngster has been progressing nicely, although a bit slower than I’d like. Even small victories can become big ones. It wasn’t that long ago that I could barely get him to trot a few strides, which eventually became a full circle without stopping. Now we can trot freely around the arena until it is my idea to stop. Stopping used to be pulling back on the reins and saying ‘whoa’, now all I have to do it squeeze my hands and thighs and we slow down or stop. It has been so fun watching him progress, even if it is only baby steps.
Now that we have a good rhythm at trot and are keeping a good forward tempo, we are moving on to straightness. He is only three and still pretty green, so wobbly moments are par for the course. Friesians have gorgeous arched necks that sit higher up on their shoulders, so sometimes it feels like his head is in my face! When things get clumsy, it feels like he is slithering around like a snake. Keeping him between my hands has been the priority.
How do I keep him between my hands? Imagine a narrow hallway, the reins and my legs are the walls funneling the horse through. Keeping firm pressure on the reins, I let him ping off of my hands to contain him within the halls. The same with my legs. When he starts snaking his body, I remind him that he cannot go further than my legs. It has become less and less of a game of pinball and soon I will be able to widen the hallway and contain him where ever we may be. They grow so fast!