Finally the sun shone and all the cross country fields dried up. Even the water jump is at a fun level for the first time this year. I was also able to get my camera out again without fear of ruining it in the incessant rain. Solo has been hopping neatly over the little logs quite easily for a long time now. In fact, he is a lot more focused and straight when you point him at a jump than at any other time in his week.

As you saw, when we took him up and down the little bank, it took two people to start him off. Even then, I was sorry I had not brought a second rider out with us to give Solo a lead. I am a great believer in using a lead horse when teaching babies. On Saturday we decided we were going to ‘do’ the ditch. We went out fully prepared. I had orange cones to visually block the end of the ditch and a lead horse to show Solo how easy it is. Our lead horse was Jasmine, a 5 yr old quarter horse mare who has started her competition career this Summer. She was happy to show off how easy it was to hop across the big black hole.

Solo was not convinced. As with the bank, we didn’t belabor the point from in the tack, Selena hopped off and led him across while I waved a whip menacingly behind him (without actually having to touch him at all). After a couple of ‘dancing on hot coals’ steps at the edge, he leapt across. Selena hopped back up and asked him from the saddle, he thought about saying ‘no’ and then decided that he might as well get on with it. After he had done it both ways it was old hat and he was popping back and forward without trouble. He is still jumping it however. We like our young horses to calmly walk across the small training ditch. It doesn’t need to be jumped but can be stepped over. Solo will continue to do the ditch as part of his regular hacking schedule until he walks across it without comment.