Solo had his first school in a real dressage arena on the weekend. He was not terribly impressed….as per usual, he had opinions that had to be expressed. He looked and spooked his way around the ring, and mumbled and grumbled about it the entire time. We have found that he generally tends to discuss everything new, but on the second time around, he says a lot less…..fingers crossed….

We are hoping to enter Solo in a Cadora dressage show on Sunday. I have entered him for the four year old class at Millbrook, NY., but I am still waiting on confirmation that we got in. The Wit’s End young horse class has changed it’s format to include two qualifiers, one today and one on August the eighth. I don’t think he is ready to drive five hours there and five hours back and shine in a show class this evening and on August the 8th he will be trailering to Millbrook. We might sadly have to give the whole Wit’s End idea a miss.

Solo’s routine is still fairly relaxed. He has a couple of lessons a week and other than that, he hacks, lunges or ponies every day. Most weeks he works six days. I tried to keep him down to five days a week earlier in the year because he is still very young, but we find he gets cheeky when he has too much time to himself. He has filled out an enormous amount since he moved to his summer quarters. The lush river meadow grazing and lots of hacking have added on a lot of bulk. I am a little surprised to see how much he has bodied up for a four year old. Unless he stops maturing now, he is going to be a ‘bigger about’ horse than I had anticipated, all of which is just the icing on the cake. His back is strong and well filled out, no problem with the wither being prominent at the moment, he is positively rotund. It’s amazing how much they change shape at this age.

We still lunge him in the de gogue. We have tried the side reins but we don’t find that they make him use his back. He wears a happy mouth snaffle with a cavasson noseband. I originally had him in a D ring happy mouth (straight bar), I then tried a happy mouth French snaffle (double jointed) but lattely he has been back in the straight bar, but with long cheeks. The long cheeks add weight to the bit, but they can be helpful when you are trying to turn an unbalanced youngster, especially when you are jumping. I start working almost all my young horses in this bit.

This weekend we have a huge Pony Club rally here at Hawkridge. I am looking forward to being involved as a clinician, but sadly this means I will not be at the show to see Solo do his first dressage test….might be just as well….you know he is going to have opinions that he feels he really MUST relay to the judge…..