All is going well with Solo at the moment. His aggressive winter schooling schedule seems to be helping him grow up. He has a softer look in his eye at the moment and doesn’t seem to be arguing over things any more.
The worst thing is still the spooking. It’s such a game with him, he does it every day and all the time but he is really good at finding something when he feels the work is getting a bit too hard. If I thought for a minute that he was scared or nervous, I would just give up, but it’s a naughty habit not fear. He has played this game from the start, if you look back to the beginning of the blog we had a really tedious time with him walking past a set of windows on his way to the field and back every day. That eventually wore off but it took about a year of silly carry on – NOT fear, just silly carry on. We are always patient with him and try to completely ignore the spooking as paying attention to it is exactly what he wants. He would much rather roll his eyes and discuss how ‘scary’ the outside door to the arena is, than lift his back and overtrack. Give him some poles to jump over and he is all smiles and yet he still cannot resist his little game if he can think of something to set up as today’s ‘monster’.
I think he is improving in every way this winter. He seems calmer about pretty much everything and suddenly seems to be more mature in his face and eye somehow. Not the same wicked look in his eye when you are in chatting to him. Somehow he looks more of a ‘grown up’. I have no complaints about his physique any more, he has muscled in all the right places (which surely means he IS working some of the time). He is such showing any traces of getting tired. His endurance is impressive and bodes well for his future.
Lunging in the Pessoa training system is still an integral part of his program but he has moved to where he is being ridden more than lunged in preparation for Ocala mid January. The lunging month was the nearest thing he got to a holiday this year. We usually hack him regularly, but that has had to be an on off thing this year because of the weather. Wet snow balls too badly in the foot and I am scared I will cause sole bruises to our competition horses before they go South. They can hack all they like if the snow gets dryer and deeper or they will just have to wait until they get to Ocala… lucky things!
We had a great time visiting the Royal Winter Fair this year. Selena was fortunate enough to be offered the use of an Anivac. It’s the most amazing machine. Like a vacuum for horses (old hat) but you can switch it to ‘wash’ (new hat) and water comes up the nozzle like a carpet cleaner and washes your horse without wetting anything else. There is an oxygen cleaning fluid that comes with it that removes all sorts of crud from the coat including fungus, ringworm and various skin conditions. The shampoo is so safe you can ingest it without hurting. The horse is hardly wet as the vacuum part keeps the excess water going back into the machine, and of course you never get a spot of water on yourself. It is way more effective than even a normal bath and shampoo. We tried bathing a horse normally and then going over him with the Anivac and the waste water from it was still absolutely black! It’s quick and easy to use and the horses gleam. We have been using it on all our horses prior to clipping in order to conserve our blades. The photos are from one of Solo’s pre clip baths.