This time Solo didn’t stagnate while I was away. This time his education continued without interruption.

I was away for a full week, my two students stabled at Chesterland and both young riders schooled cross country with Bruce Davidson, then competed at Plantation Field at the end of the week. It was a great week and I enjoyed watching the riders and horses being challenged, and rising to meet the challenges.

Solo meanwhile has had his turnout privileges cut to zero. The paddocks by his barn are unable to take the punishment meted out by big fit horses hoping to retain four shoes every day. We lost all the way round this week when the fabulous temperatures lulled us into turning out on Monday – one horse shoe and several deep imprints later, we brought them all in again…..sigh.

Solo gets worked first thing every morning so that nobody has to share his stall with him while they muck out. It’s not that he minds sharing his stall, it’s just that there is rather a lot of him to share with and he always wants to crane out over the wheelbarrow so that his entire body is in your way. All in all, it’s a quieter happier morning when Solo is out being worked.

He is still lunged first every day. He has been back lunging in the de gogue for a month, it works better for this horse than side reins. Selena has been doing a little more under saddle every day. He will now walk trot and canter indoors and outside in the sand ring. He has also trotted and cantered poles and small jumps indoors. All the work is still being done on a loose rein, she has not picked up the contact yet. That will probably happen of it’s own accord when he goes out hacking When we pony him we use a very fancy warmblood mare who is also a huge mover. She will have to be the first one he hacks with so that we can let him stretch and pace himself with a well schooled buddy while he deals with hills and rougher ground. It takes time to learn to carry someone on your back over undulating ground, and it takes time and practice to get strong enough to do it well. Solo will do a lot of hills and hacking in the early part of the summer – later, when the bugs are bad and the ground is harder, he will be forced to do more schooling in the sand ring. Much like the winter, we will try to keep his work as varied as possible without risking his immature bones on hard ground.

I am looking forward to riding him again…..however…..I may have to move him back to the home barn so that I can nab him first in the morning, you have to be quick around here.