Solo’s education continues to progress fairly smoothly. It isn’t so much that he has stopped arguing and giving us all his opinions, more a question of us wading through his lengthy discussions over every aspect of his training. He ALWAYS has to say SOMETHING!!
While we were at Bromont, the Pony Club were here at Hawkridge doing some show jumping. We left the course up for the week and Solo had his first opportunity to go “in the ring” and do a course. He was wobbly and green but he threw his rather large and chubby body gaily into the air over everything except the bank. When he came to the bank he put his foot down and said a big fat “NO”. I had to abandon my job as photographer, and stand behind him with a threatening dressage whip while Selena dismounted and led him up and down. She had already ridden him up and over the non revetted sides but the flat wooden face was a whole different ball game. After a bit of fussing and swinging his butt from side to side he leapt up the bank and nearly landed on Selena. We made him go up and down several times in hand with both of us encouraging, one in front and one behind. Finally when he was going up and down without any real hesitation, Selena got back on. Even then, I still had to be behind him with the whip for the first few goes, he really does love an argument. By the end he was going up and down when he was asked, albeit that he gave it a bit more air than it needed 😉
One other thing that is still continuing to be an issue is the head tossing. At first we put it down to allergies, then flies, but I think the only allergy he has is to doing what he is told. When he is lunged or ridden without contact he fiddle diddles with his nose, popping it up and down and fussing about. With the de gogue attached when he is on the lunge, he has a bit of a temper tantrum then lifts his back and gets on with it, the same with you pick up a contact and start some serious work. If you are jumping, you can have the rein as loose as you like, he is all business. But when you hack on a loose rein or free lunge without tack to give him a soft day, he flips his head about so much it knocks him off his stride. We are going to watch it as an issue, and assess it as we go along. If we are not comfortable with the progress being made through just schooling him, we will involve the vet and ask his advice.
The big excitement now is working out where we will take him to show. We are drawn towards Millbrook in the USA which has a Young Horse FEI class for four year event horses. Bruce Davidson won it last year with a beautiful black gelding. There is also a young horse class at Wit’s End in Canada in September and we plan to try for them both. How exciting, this time next week we will be doing entry forms for Solo.