Solo has been a busy boy. He went to a ‘Radical Jumper’ show at Erinmoor Farm. This is a fun series of shows offering a mix of cross country and show jumps with an optimum time.
He did lovely clear rounds but not close to the optimum time. At the moment, the important thing is that he comes to all his fences at a steady pace and a good balance. Because he is so big and athletic, this tends to make him a bit fast at the lower levels. When he is trained and clever enough to go Prelim, he will find that an easy pace to keep. He won a 5th place ribbon to add to his little (but growing) collection.
That was on the Thursday, on the Sunday he went to Canterdown horse trials and did the Pre Training. After a less than stellar dressage he was wonderful. He had one stop at a bank. It was an up bank and the third fence. The Pre Training had to stay hard right making the bank a skinny, reason being, the Prelims had a coopy housy thing on the left of the bank that they bounced up and over. A lot of green (and disobedient) horses came in looking at the house on the left instead of focusing on the right side of the bank where they had to jump. Solo was one of these, he had ‘opinions’ about that house on the bank.
However, we were thrilled with him and he placed 7th and won a HUGE round the neck ribbon. They have the best ribbons at Canterdown.
This weekend he is going to a dressage show. If ever a boy needed to go to a dressage show it is our boy! We took him to our good neighbor’s, Dick Bailey, whom most of you know as one of Ontario’s very experienced event riders, and we schooled Solo for dressage in his ring. We find he really enjoys lots of ‘off property’ trips. After the dressage he followed one of our very experienced horses around over some very small fences. We wanted him to ‘follow’ as a confidence builder and to help pace his big long stride. He covers SO much ground. We kept that to mostly trot fences, very small logs etc because of the hard ground. We are limiting all his jumping on grass to actual shows until we have some serious rain.
On Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon, he leaves for Richland in Michigan where he is entered in the Young Event Horse Class. Selena is riding Mr. and Mrs. Michael Davies’ lovely horse ‘Colombo’ in the CIC*** World Cup Qualifier which is very exciting. Solo will do the five year old class which will be very demanding. The height of the fences will be a mix of Prelim and Training. We have no qualms about the height, we have kept him low to save his legs while he learns to do things in a more polished manner. His dressage and his straightness between fences are still ‘issues’ as far as I am concerned.
Right from the beginning. Solo’s training has always been seen as a long term affair. The idea is to bring him along as carefully as is necessary to optimize his incredible potential. I must say, he is one of the cleverest horses I have ever had and that does NOT make him the easiest horse I have ever had. He is too smart for his own good sometimes, always having to say his bit, instead of listening to Selena and getting on with it.
The good news is, that if the progress has been necessarily slow because of his attitude, it has caused him to develop a wonderful physique. The long slow trots on the hills, lunging in the Pessoa, working over low grids at low speeds – all this has built him into a power pack. He is big and bulky in his body with muscles on his muscles. All Solo’s photos, and I do mean “All”…..we are well over 100…..are up on a website for anyone to visit. You will also see pictures of Colombo who has almost as many as Solo and some of our other horses.
To everyone who came up to Selena at her recent shows and talked to Solo because they had read the blog….Thank you. It’s great to hear that you read about him and believe me he LOVES you to come up to him, he is not in the least stand offish and will take any attention that is coming.