Happy New Year!
December was the month that I really started to knuckle down and start schooling Pea again after his holiday. He was finally clipped which meant that I could increase his workload without him getting ridiculously sweaty and he's no longer a fluffy teddy bear!
I was slightly apprehensive about starting schooling, especially cantering, however he has been a little bit of a star! We do have loads to work on though, but he's been enthusiastic and hasn't been bucking much at all which was quite a shock! As he's had 3 months practically just sitting in the field he has lost a lot of muscle (& gained a lot of weight which is slowly coming off) so he finds it a bit hard to stay straight and bend properly. He is slowly improving and I've been doing lots of lateral work as well as lunging him with his side reins. Ideally I want to try a pessoa on him, however I currently have no money and I have never used on so I might see if I can borrow one off someone who can help me use it as well and see how he gets on with it before deciding whether to get one or not. The equiami was also suggested to me, however that's a lot more but I might see if anyone else has used one of them previously and what people recommend more.
His canter is the one area that I have noticed a massive difference! He is now so forward
going (occasionally too forward going) which is great, though now I need to try and work on collecting him just a bit so he works more from behind and doesn't then pull and go flat. We also really need to establish a better bend as on the right rein he is a bit of a motorbike in canter, especially at the corners where he just cuts them off and bends the wrong way...
I have been doing some pole work with him, however the past two weeks I don't think I've actually done much pole work - oops! We've been sticking to just trotting poles, both raised and flat, and he's been finding it quite easy but it's good to get him to lift his legs (I'm sure he forgets he has 4) and also having them slightly further apart than what I normally would has meant that he has to lengthen his trot a little bit which will help open him up more. There are some great pole exercises in the current issue of Your Horse which I can't wait to try out and I also need to introduce canter poles to help him not get so flat, though I'm always wary of canter poles as I'm never 100% sure what the right length is for him :/
My aims for January are to get him out to a competition and also have a few lessons on him. I'm considering joining a local riding club, however I'm waiting to hear back from them about what events they have coming up, etc as I want to see what type of clinics they do. Hopefully we can really start cracking his bending issue as this has been a long term issue and is what lets us down in our dressage. I'm learning that if I keep my hands a bit more relaxed he will slowly accept and work rounder but then he'll argue about something in the next instance and we end up having a slight battle as he then won't listen to my rein aid :/ I'm also trying to teach him shoulder-in, though he seems to prefer doing it when he's being naughty and not when I actually ask him!
Thanks for reading,