Last week Solo proved that he is a grown up horse. On the Tuesday and the Wednesday I rode him in the Pat Burgess Clinic – he was absolutely wonderful and managed to comply with all my requests, whether badly or well requested! He turned, he jumped, he soared, he bounced, he cantered from halt, he did turns and grids and angles, and most of all, he did all of it without any discussions or opinions. On the Thursday, he did a short session with Pat, this time with Selena in the saddle. It was wonderful. He was soft and happy and springing up into the air over every jump. I still say his attitude change comes from his fall at Millbrook! OK, I do admit….he is still a bit of a toad going up steep hills….hey, he can’t be perfect all the time, then he would be boring 😉

Solo is in most nights now although I still put him out if the weather is dry and above freezing. I like young horses being out in the field as much as possible, I think it keeps them level headed and more able to listen to what you are trying to teach them on their schooling sessions. I find young horses that are a little stable sour, tend to take a lot of physical exercise before their brain kicks in – by which time, if they are three, or early four-year-olds, they are probably too tired to learn well. Solo’s feed schedule is also changing. Now that he is finally rideable (it only took a year or so…) I can feed him pretty much what I want. Up until now I have been feeding him a ration balancer to supplement all the top quality hay he wants to eat. I will be adding a higher protein content to his diet to help him build the musculature he will need to perform in Florida this winter. As his work increases, so will the body building protein content. There is no real reason yet to build up his carbohydrates as he has plenty of energy to spare. He is the Energizer Bunny now that he is closer to five than four-years-old.� It makes SUCH a difference to the length of time we are able to work him and also how many times a week we can work him. He now works 5-6 days whereas before he was only able to sustain 4 – 5 days a week.

He does one jump school about every two weeks at the moment but that will increase through the following months to maybe two a week to build him up for competing in Florida. He needs to have a strong topline and good ‘springing’ muscles before he gets out on cross country. I want him to love it and he won’t love it if he is tired or sore from not being properly prepared. He dressage schools about three times every two weeks. Some weeks he may do two a week if the hacking weather is awful, but with the indoor arena looming ahead, we hack or pony him every day we can. He has not been lunging much lately, when we are snowed into the arena, he will start to lunge again in order to vary his program.

In Florida he is going to be introduced to some swimming sessions in an equestrian lap pool and he will use a hot walker for the first time – everything new is education.� By the time he is six, I would like him to mostly have ‘been there, done that’ and after that, he will no longer be a ‘young’ horse.