Star’s first year here with us at Starting Point Stables, has been pretty productive.
I rode her maybe (maybe) a dozen times before introducing her to Lauren and Caitlyn. And from that point the two of them have been her primary riders.
In the last year we’ve gone through the process of removing some ‘old paint’ (when I got her home I discovered when she was anxious, and held in a halt she’d do a Levade, but oddly enough she was extremely balky, dull to the leg, and not at all forward).
We also started educating her to the basic aids. We started with teaching her that the leg meant to go forward and it was not up for debate. We taught her that a snaffle isn’t so bad, hand contact isn’t so bad, that we’d use a leading /opening rein, and a voice command to support the downward transitions.
We also went through wondering if she was pregnant, because she was so bloody fat, with very little food! We temporarily backed off her work load until we found out for sure. Well, she wasn’t so back to fitness work she went.
This past month in her lessons the girls have been doing:
- 1/2 turns on the forehand on the wall.
- Reinback up to 4 steps.
- Three different walks – a shortened walk on contact, a working walk on contact, and a lengthened walk on a long or loose rein .
- Three different trots – a shortened trot on contact seated, a working trot on contact posting, and a lengthened trot on a long rein posting.
- Up to 4 minute trot sets over a trotting pole/cavaletti pattern.
- Various trail course obstacles.
- Trot pole grids to small 18″ jumps with a transition to walk / halt / back on the line.
- Various size circles, or patterns, in trot.
Star has proven to be safe for the girls to get out themselves and school independently around the farm while I’m busy in a lesson with someone else. She has also become a lot more forward, freely forward, in her walk and trot work, and a lot more responsive to the upward transition aids (the seat and leg).
Star is still having issues going into canter and maintaining a canter. She has such a heavy and FLAT canter. We’ve started getting it and then we feared she might be pregnant and backed off. Now were starting all over again in terms of her fitness and willingness to strike off and maintain a canter. I had the girls put her back into the round pen on her ‘non lesson days’ and work on that canter strike off and maintaining it for 2 circles, then transitioning down to trot and asking for it again.
She is also having issues with falling in on the shoulder, and then on the same circle (both directions) falling OUT and over bending.
In the past year Star has also been taken out to a lot of off farm activities, from trail rides to TREC clinics.