Taffy: I stole the idea from some ''austrailian breast-plate bags'' a friend had, and combined them with a regular pommel bag :) I doubt it would be possible to get a patent of it, especially not in this country. But I do like the placement and I think I'll even arrange for my regular sadle bags to be placed there, all I need is something that clears the withers (since they could be me heavily loaded than these small ones). Crow doesn't seembothered at all by them, I can keep my eyes on them and on the withers should be better than on the most weight-sensetive part of the back. :)
Velvets: A lack in my training :) He was never raced, they say they trained him for it but I dunno how much that was. He's small for one, and those people I bought him off wasn't really straight in their heads... he had one shoe on, too long hooves all together, odd scars/barely healed injuries on his hindlegs and they bragged about ho many times they were caght with drugging their race horses.. (why I bought him? He was the cheapest horse nearby and we needed company for another horse.. I never meant to ride him, but he's my love now ;)
) Anyway, I've had him since he was 5, started riding him, crushed my wrist when a saddle slipped, slowly tried to start riding him again when he was 6,5 , nearly gave up since I got too scared because of the wrist and all (and it still hurts) sent him off to training to an instructor I trust - didn't want anyone that might hit him to set him in place, he really doesn't need that. - when he was 7- 8 He's just nervous and way too keen on cooperating - it was 100miles away but worth it. I visited a few times, got some lessons and for some reason wasn't afraid even when he acted up (aka rushed in his walk..) afterwards.. I was trailriding him and got a few lessons from that insructor once in a while (he had just learnt the basics - carry a rider, listen to the seat and stop rushing against the hands, shoulder in and out in walk and trying to get a consistent gait, she's not a gaited rider but schooled him with his best in mind, but nothing about collection or anything as such at this level
) basically the same we had worked with before I sent him away, but the biggest differense was that I wasn't scared anymore when I know he knew how to be a good horse *lol* He's ever done anything stupid like bucking or anything. Reared out of cue two times before I thaught him the cue, but it was more a ''did you want this? Oh, not? ok'' than any protest. Like a horse can try to run away from a collectig seat before it understand what you meant, just a check if that's the thing we asked for and nothing more with it when it wasn't.
Anyway, for 2 years I would only gait him, I didn't care much for the trot (still doesn't, but he's pretty when he trots and it helps his gaiting ;) ) and since I'm just a trail rider I didn't need it, but last year I decided to teach him a trot cue as well. It took a while but now he's consistent with when I want a trot and a gait and very rarely pick the wrong one. We have some difficulties with canter though, some periods he'l forget the differense between trot and canter and try to trot when I want canter. It's not a biggie, multigaited horses often have these setbacks when introduced to new gaits. With consistency he'll get it back. When he does canter it's smooth and like the other gaits he'll exctend or collect it from the seat. Once he was ''on his toes'' and cantered next to a walking horse.. it's the most round, soft canter I've ever had.. he walked properly again when I asked him though.
Although I have worked his gait as much as I can with suppleness and and flexion rather than ''hollow the frame to break the pace/trot'' as a few gaited riders I've seen, he doesn't really want to gait with his headset low. I've never heard anything than that it's more or less impossible for them, but then again it's supposed to be impossible to gait without hollowing the back too, and I know he doesn't do that ;) Since I started trotting that has changed a bit and he'll lower his neck more when asked also in a rack. The flatwalk is pretty new, found that after the trot, and in that he will keep a pretty low headset quite much on his own. His head is nodding - as it should - so the highest point of the nod is just above wither level, and then lowest is just under.
So in all he's been ridden somewhat regularily for 3 years and trotted for nearly one of them. A skilled rider would probably have been able to take him further much sooner, but again.. I just like to ride and enjoy him. :) I like working with him, but I don't have any time set goals.
Regular trot. (as in ''not slow but pretty fast, however not extended either")