Well Solo appears to be thriving on his present regime. He is not in full ridden work since this is meant to be his downtime before Florida, but he is in regular work. Last week he did his three consecutive days of serious overtracking on the lunge, an energetic form of exercise for me if not him. He got progressively better over the three days. He had the fourth day off, then Selena rode him while I lunged him, still asking for the overtrack. He definitely struggled more to overtrack consistantly with the rider which makes me feel it is still in some part a strength and muscleature issue. Selena is still struggline with her muscleature since she rode him on the lunge, he is a BIG mover. Yesterday was a hack day and today is his day off.
During this coming week I plan to continue with another three days of aggressive forward trotting, in big cirles on the lunge, at least one of those days will be with a rider, and we are starting him back over small fences. In addition to his normal jumping exercises, I have been combing the barns and sheds looking for interesting and spooky fillers and jumps. The trouble really seems to occur when his stride is lengthened out on the cross country, he is a very athletic horse with a lot of body movement and it’s hard to tell if you still have him in front of your leg when you slow down and push him together for the jump. He will sometimes start spooking and running sideways a long way away from his fence and at other times he will cruise into everything with casual nonchalence. We need to somehow encourage the cruising, he is a horse that likes to please and get it right but when he starts to say ‘no’ it’s difficult to get him to change his mind quickly. In the stadium with the tighter turns and slower pace it’s easier to get him straight and in front of the leg, and keep him there.
The ‘thou wilt overtrack’ regime is doing wonders for his neck which is finally filling out at the top and thickening along his topline. It is also doing wonders for his in stall behaviour. He is usually the one that has his head hanging out the minute ANYTHING of interest moves in the barn. By the end of last week he could hardly be bothered getting up from one of his regular naps to see who was going where. As a general rule, he usually organises all the barn traffic in a very vocal manner. Everybody gets a ‘hello’ or a ‘goodbye’ or a ‘get your fat a** over there you’re far to near my stall’… you know the kind of sweet things a horse like Solo has to say… Always one for a daily lounge on the couch, he has taken to flat out snoring every chance he gets but he still has a ton of energy when it’s time to work.
We will see how the jumping goes this week. The plan is to get him jumping small obstacles on a straight line, on the buckle.