If I thought Noodle was being good the week before last, he did a real “hold my beer” last week and was… even better?
In the last lesson we worked a lot on getting his hind end under him and getting him to unlock his neck and lumbar, especially in the canter. He gave it a good ol college try, and ya know… about half of the canter was pretty decent. It was as if he went home and used his day off to think about it though, because I got on him for the next ride and it was just… there. Instead of 50% of it being good, 90% of it was good. And throughout the week every ride we got a little more and a little more. He wasn’t bracing against my hand, or trying to root me out of the tack, or flopping onto his shoulder, or swinging his butt around to avoid using it. He just… cantered, like a broke and civilized animal. Well alright then, kiddo.
Steph and I had planned for him to have a training ride next, because I feel like it always helps a lot if whoever is giving me lessons has actually sat on the horse. They can feel what I feel, and play around with some things to help me figure stuff out. So on Saturday I hauled him over and Steph rode him.
Which, poor dude, it started raining like the second she got on, and got increasingly more torrential as she went. I thought Presto might have a bit of a meltdown but to his credit he didn’t, he stayed on task and they had a quick but productive ride. Steph immediately remarked that he already was going better than he had last week (I can execute homework, that’s one of my few talents). She played around with a few things to see what was most effective for him and was definitely able to feel even more than she had seen. Plus she really liked him, which of course it’s always nice when a professional thinks your horse has a lot of potential.
The next day I took him back over for a lesson, because I wanted to take advantage of the training ride still being very fresh in both Steph and Presto’s minds. And aside from the fact that he thought the poodles were going to kill him
He was yet again really good. We were there at midday so it was a bit hot and he’d been ridden 5 days in a row so with those two things combined he was definitely feeling a little tired. Still though, he showed up and he tried for me, and we were able to build even more on everything from the week before. His trot is definitely getting looser, he’s starting to step under more with his hind end, and his canter is like night and day… he can (and will) actually carry himself again.
He is a lot of work, don’t get me wrong. Timing is so crucial, he requires a lot of core strength, and even just changing something by a millimeter can make a massive difference in how he goes. I have to be a little quicker with my aids and not be hesitant to keep asking for a bit more and a bit more… he’ll step things up if you ask, but he’s not going to just volunteer it, and he’s got plenty more quality to give if we keep developing it the right way.
To be honest this lesson was probably the first time I’ve felt actually competent on this horse. He’s a whole new world from what I’m used to, and just a lot more in every way. We’ve still got a really long way to go and plenty of room for improvement for sure, but I love riding him because he challenges me to step it up and be better. He’s re-ignited some of the excitement in me about things. I find myself really looking forward to our lessons, and whatever else may be next. After a few years of not really being particularly “on fire” to go to a horse show, I’m eyeballing the schedule again with actual interest.
This week we’re going to start jump lessons… we’ll see how that goes. I want to have Steph jump him first to get her thoughts, and then we can go from there. Now that he’s feeling stronger though and we’re starting to get the canter wrangled, that’s definitely the next step. I’ve been hopping him over cavaletti and very small fences at home for a while now and he’s definitely gotten better about waiting, listening, and keeping his shape to the base, so… I think he’s ready to delve back into the jumping for real again now that we’ve got help.
He’s also starting to fill out a bit over his topline, finally. He looks more and more like a real horse every day! Well, aside from the fact that he’s always got hay in his forelock and a raging case of side eye… he’s still Presto, after all.
3 thoughts on “Reignition”
He looks amazing! What a lovely young man!
What a good boy! Glad it is all coming together with the noodle!
This is so exciting! You and Presto are going to have so much fun doing all the things together. He really looks fantastic. Definitely not a baby horse anymore.