Luc and I ride a pole pattern.

Luc and I ride a pole pattern.

So you know how last time I thought Luc came in looking filthy? This week was 10 times worse. And instead of just being coated in mud, it was something much, much smellier. Looks like he enjoys rolling around in poop. But of course, he is a grey after all!

He was so disgusting, in fact, that it took both his owner (my sister Jen) and myself to get him even a semblance of clean. She worked on one side, while I worked on the other. Currying, brushing, and using as much elbow grease as possible. I had already worked up a mighty sweat and I hadn’t even gotten on yet.

After finally getting him as close to white as possible, which really wasn’t close at all, we tacked him up and I headed into the arena. Since winter still seems to be waiting to show up in our neck of the woods, I had decided on not doing too much today as I didn’t want to spend the next four hours waiting for Luc to dry.

We walked around a few times in each direction, and remarkably he was actually moving forward. I put my leg on, and he listened – even heading toward the scary end! We moved up into the trot and I still had a nice level of impulsion. After doing a few laps each way it was time to canter. He was forward, but we could still use a little (read: A LOT) of work on balance and rhythm and suppleness.

Cognizant of how much harder he has to work to canter, I dropped back down to trot and decided to try my hand at an interesting pole exercise that was set up. Essentially, there was a series of poles down the centre line, with a half circle of poles at the end, and another two poles also on a bend further down near the far end of the arena. The first set of poles was long, which worked well as Luc needs to work on going forward and stepping up. Then he had to immediately collect and bend around two of the poles on the semi-circle, before circling over the final two poles on a 20-metre circle. Then he continued the circle and came back down the entire exercise in the opposite direction.

I am sure I am not explaining that at all clearly, so I’ll attempt a diagram. The first few times through the exercise, Luc struggled with shortening his step and bending at the same time, but by the end, we both really seemed to figure out how to ride it.

He was only slightly sweaty, so it was mission accomplished. We let him eat his breakfast, groomed him, fed him copious amounts of treats and turned him back out.

While it wasn’t jumping 3’3” fences, it was a valuable exercise that tested both our skills, and we succeeded. I couldn’t be happier right now with how we’re progressing as a partnership. We really do make an awesome team!