I decided to make a journal thread because I had both a picture thread and a conformation thread, and I had a couple people asking me to post progress pictures, so I figured it would be easier to just do it here. That way I can keep track of his training and how he is coming along all in the same place.
As some of you know, I've been working with a new horse, Skipper, here at the ranch in Idaho. For those of you who don't know, he is a ~16hh QH (so we think and have been told) who was used for mountain trail riding and packing. From what I have gathered in the time I've spent with him, he was previously very well trained. He is a huge sweetheart on the ground, but had given others here some issues under saddle.
I free-lunged him a few times before ever riding him, and he was very respectful and caught on pretty quickly. It's definitely not a first-time thing for him, that's for sure.
He crow-hopped with me a few times while I was riding bareback, and while I certainly don't want to get thrown, I am not going to let a horse get away with that sort of behavior, so I threw a saddle on him and rode him through it. After that day, he really hasn't given me any issues.
I have ridden bareback, used a western saddle, english saddle, a bit, a halter, and a bitless bridle on him and he goes really well for me regardless so far. He is rather sensitive bareback though, so for now I am sticking to a saddle and going to slowly transition him into bareback riding with a bareback pad once he gets a bit more used to me. Occasionally I will walk/trot bareback a little to cool him out after a ride, and he is fine with it.
So, without further ado, here are some pictures in chronological order. :)
The first couple of pictures I took of him:
Roughly a week later, before a ride:
7/22: We worked on loooots of walk/trot/halt transitions yesterday. A little bit of transition work within the gaits as well. He catches on really quickly and he has a lovely whoa. We did a few serpentines using the entire arena, lots of trot circles, and direction changes. I could feel him starting to bring his hind end underneath him here and there, especially when stopping. Also, his gaits are beginning to come together and ride much more smoothly. Yay!
7/23: Today, we did more serpentines (at the walk, because I was leading the program kids that ride here), some trot circles, and more transitions. His whoa really is great, which I am so happy about. He started dropping his head when I asked him with seat and rein today also. Note: I am not trying to force a headset or anything like that. Rather, I am asking him to seek out contact with the bit and work in a long and low frame. He is catching on very nicely :) His gaits are becoming so much more fluid and easier to sit. I accomplished a nice sitting trot in my english saddle today!
Sounds like you are well on your way to really refine some of those aids with the exercises you've been doing. Great work!
Thanks ^_^ I have also been having him give to the bit a few time each side from the halt and at the walk before any other riding. :) He really is a lovely horse.
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