Last night we went out to HHH to ride Dallas. He was in a lovely mood when caught and seemed rather perturbed by the inconvenience of having to deal with us rather than graze with his herd mates. Thats just typical horse behavior though. He is a strapping young man, bulked up, with a neck like a body builder. He is tough stuff. Got him the round pen and did some free lunging. He is rather laid back. Once his buddies moved off into the distant pasture he was more "giving" in his efforts and a little less distracted. Again just typical "I am horse who hasn't been messed with much lately" behavior. So the moment of truth finally presented itself as I swung up on him from the mounting block. He stood like a champ and didn't move off. I gave him a moment to collect his thoughts and understand I was up there and then asked him to move off. I am not from the school of "kicking" a horse. I do not believe you have to kick a horse for it to understand the cue to move. I gave him some squeezes, rocked my bottom and asked with a kiss. Eventually we rolled out at a very slow lazy pace. Being this was the first time I was on him he was a gentleman, a lazy gentlemen, BUT I will take that over a fired up fruit loop any day. We used a full cheek snaffle on him and at first he had some difficulty in giving into it as it is probably a lot gentler than what he is used to if he has had prior training. They lack the squeezing leverage pressure of say a curb or worse a tom thumb. He does need to loosen up his neck and gain some flexion. His body is stiff and rigid. He does understand the move cue, he did get into a trot for a short spurt with the added pressure of Jeannie working him from the center of the pen. We unsaddled him and I got up on him bareback and he followed his leader "Jeannie" around not caring to much at all I was up there. All in all it was a pretty easy session.
So here is my critique of this horse: Disposition:
Quiet & complacent. He may be big & bulky but he has a soft demeanor. Behavior Issues:
None to note thus far. He is a little lazy which can be a sign of him dominating his rider but in this case I think t is more just a horse that has grown to like not working. Again that is very typical. I walked behind him, no kicking. No biting, he respected my space and followed willingly. Riding Skill :
He has a very comfortable walk, trot is a little bumpy, and haven't made it to canter yet. It is still a little early to call this horse a beginners horse BUT if nothing changes he would be excellent for anyone who just wants to meander around on trails or have a nice horse to saddle up and enjoy for the afternoon. Game Plan:
Since last night was kinda like an "orientation" it stayed at a relaxed pace. It was more for observation purposes and to see how much he already knows. Wednesday I will go back out and on that day it will be more about pushing his buttons a little and making him do stuff he may not feel like doing. Once I start pushing those buttons we will know for sure how complacent & broke he is. He kinda got to run the show last night but on Wednesday he is going to be asked to listen and do some basic things like walk, trot, canter, whoa, in both directions.