Since 1st January I have been trying to put a note in my diary every time I do something with Basil. Whether it is lunge, school or hacking out I make a note with a few words to describe the session. I started it really because sometimes I find it difficult to keep track of how far we have come and to remember the positives!
So I've had a look back and this is what January looked like:-
2nd - Lunged, loopy.
4th - Lunged, bit excited.
5th - Schooled, good, a bit excited in canter, walked & trotted over single poles.
6th - Schooled, very good.
9th - Hack, first hack since Chesney hurt his foot (so 2 or 3 weeks) so pretty good considering and it was windy!
11th - Lunged, pretty good.
13th - School, cantered over single pole (I wrote a blog about this HUGE step)
14th - Hack, really good.
16th - School, good. Walked over trotting poles and cantered over single poles.
Few icy days - not able to hack on roads and arena frozen! My saddle went for re-flocking.
21st - Lunged, OK.
23rd - Schooled, bit icy and there was a pheasant in the hedge so Basil was really spooky and jumpy. I managed to stay calm(ish) until he calmed down.
24th - Hack, bit excited on way back, took us half as long to come back as go because Basil was walking so fast!
25th - Schooled, very, very good. Cantered over single poles and trotted over trotting poles, he picked his feet up really high - SO PROUD.
27th - Hack, really speedy on way back.
30th - Lunged, very, very good. Also walked over raised poles and did 2 back ups (starting horsey Pilates). Roller on!
31st - Hack, good considering wind picked up. Bit spooky and speedy on way back.
I will try to write more detail during February as I don't think there is enough to look back on.
Our lunging sessions in January were for 15 minutes (about 7 mins on each rein). We now have a plan for the months ahead as I would like to get him back in side- reins. At our previous place he was always a bit daft on the lunge and I felt it was dangerous in side-reins, I wasn't sure he was keen on the lunging cavesson either. Since we have had access to an arena again (after 5 years) I have been lunging him in a headcollar which he seems happy in. We stared without a whip because he used to just bomb around and I thought he was scared of it. Since the end of December I have been using a lunge whip again, although I barely need it, it does help keep him out on the circle. He seems settled with it now. As you will have noticed, for our last January lunging session I put the lunging roller back on, he was fine, so this is another step forward to the side-reins. I think that I will lunge him in a bridle with the headcollar over the top as the next step! We are also starting to do some horsey Pilates - which I will share as we go along!
Our schooling sessions are increasing in length. I didn't want to push him as he hadn't really worked properly for 5 years. We are now schooling for about 35 minutes, with 'chill out' and neck stretches every 10 minutes or so. We use all 3 paces, circles, 3 loop serpentines (in walk or trot) rein changes at different places and then every now and then go over a pole. I am integrating this into the normal sessions so we don't have a chance to get excited! He is also pretty good at leg yield in walk and trot, our halt transitions need work. Basil is really starting to come soft and round now, unless he gets wound up. If he gets excited his head comes up and I am working on myself when this happens to stay relaxed and get him round again - it is getting better!
So that was January.
My February aims for Basil are:
- Consistency of bend on left rein
- Halt transitions
- Trotting poles
- Continue to canter single poles
- Turn on the forehand
- Lunge in bridle
I believe these are all achievable in February as long as I keep calm and confident!
Have you seen Day 2 of my 'One Weekend in January' vlog?
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Until next time!