Good walk

Not sure of how you describe all this technically, but my trainer Mogie Bearden-Muller always likes to check your riding progress by taking a good look at your horse’s muscle and topline as you warm up around her during a lesson. She can tell right away, by slack muscling in the neck and hip, whether you’ve been working your horse on the bit reasonably frequently, or not. I know that working a horse on the bit, or working TOWARDS getting a horse to accept the bit, is the way, the truth, and the light of training these Thoroughbreds towards a sport horse career. However, it is a long, slow, incremental process. You have to watch, and look, and watch — every day — to see that you remain on the path to what you want with these horses. They are smart, they will find ways to make it easy. So we want the right thing to be easy. The way to do that is make small, easy forward progress and not ask for the moon all at once. They do what they can do. They will give you what they think they can. You just have to get them thinking they can give MORE than they are!

Today, we had another Photo Sunday, and I’m going to try and show the difference in working forward and not. These were taken while Lucky was lunging, so they are a bit unprofessional, but I think you will be able to see that the kind of gait he is moving in does affect his whole shape. What we want to do is get the right trot, the right shape going in his work, so that it becomes EASY to stay in the right frame. From there, we will go forward in the training.

Pushing into a walk rather than pulling the body along. Look at the width between the hind feet and where they are placed. This is acceptable for a green horse with 30 days of light introductory work.

Nicer trot with more impulsion. while still not stretching through the upper part of his body, he’s pushing forward into the stride and he nearly tracking up. (Sorry about the distraction of the lunge line.) Things take time! He’ll get there!

We like the direction this trot is taking. While stiff in the neck, he’s pushing from behind. The step is shorter than we’d like but it is working toward uphill balance.