Critique my plan for Gracie?
Ok, so for anyone who doesn't know, Gracie is a 16-month old Quarter Horse filly. I got her as a 7 month old, and mostly, we've been doing a lot of grooming, handling her feet, and basic leading. A few months ago, I upped my expectations a bit, working more on working in-hand. That is, walking, trotting, backing-up, and side-stepping. I also taught her how to bow. She ties, cross-ties, trailers, and bathes. She can pony, we've walked along by the road and she barely flicks an ear at traffic. We are also working on yielding to me and keeping out of my bubble. That's what she knows now.
Now here is my plan for the future. I'm giving us a lot of time, so I think it will be unlikely that we can't finish a step in the time I'm allowing. That being said, I wouldn't mind pushing things further back if she does need more time.
I want to continue working her in-hand throughout the winter. Next summer , when she's almost two, I want to start teaching her how to lunge and actually get her to excercise [not to much, just some controlled excercise] as opposed to lounging around in the pasture and having the occasional run and buck and fart moments.
Next winter , when she's about two and a half, I want to start introducing tack and equipment. She blankets just fine, so the saddle pad will be a piece of cake. But we'll be working with my surcingle, then saddles and girths, then bridles and bits. I plan to keep putting them on, taking them off, for a few months.
The following Spring , she'll be almost three, and then I'd like to start lunging her under saddle. I'd like to gradually include lunging with a bridle and bit on, maybe do a little work with super long side-reins, I'm not too sure about that part yet though.
After she turns three that summer , I want to start getting on, getting off, doing basic stops and walks, turning, just the most basic of the basics. I'd like to gradually work her up to cantering under saddle.
THEN, the following summer , she'll be four, and I want to get down to business and really start riding her. Going on trails, and actually working.
So that's the ballpark plan. I'm in no hurry, and I have no intention of getting on her before she is three, and I have no intention of working her hard until she's four. I want to take it slow, because like I said, I'm in no hurry whatsoever. Any advice, or anything you'd like to add, and especially any encouragement that I have a good plan would be greatly appreciated! Please and thank you!
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."