This month has been split between viewings and training. Elton has made huge progress in his training and is much straighter in his work, so we have started to introduce lateral work to develop his suppleness as well as giving him more to think about. At first the lady who rides Elton for me, Helen, taught him what the moving sideways was all about and taught him to move away from the leg as well as positioning her shoulders and seat so Elton would understand what I was asking when I am schooling as I wouldn’t be able to give him the leg aids, Elton picks things up quite quickly and is trying very hard to understand. The lateral movements that we have been focusing on are leg yielding and shoulder-in. Elton has been working very well, and has picked shoulder-in and leg yielding up. We have also been working on the impulsion and keeping the impulsion through movements, turns and corners. We have also continued our work from last month on developing his trot towards a medium trot when asked, I have done this by doing lots of ‘on and back’ transitions when working large and across the diagonals, gradually increasing the distance he is expected to keep the bigger trot, this is also helping to develop his working trot. Our next step will be to work on achieving smoother transitions both from one pace to another as well as within the pace. I have also been working on Elton’s freewalk and gradually he is gaining more confidence to take the rein down and forward to give a greater stretch, although we still need to work on keeping the impulsion in the walk.
Now the weather is getting better I have been regularly hacking Elton down our off road track and around the field a couple of times a week which he loves, it gives him a change from schooling and also allows him to see the world a little. I often do this to cool down after a schooling session.
Elton has also enjoyed a little bit of jumping this month with a few of the people that have come to try him and enjoyed himself, although hasn’t found a suitable home.
My next aim will be aiming for the qualifiers for the 2017 Para Dressage Winter Championships, once the dates are published as we weren’t quite ready for the qualifiers for this years Championships. I would rather the horse be comfortable in its work than rushing and making costly mistakes, after all the horse future has to come first.