in an effort to simply have somewhere to post things no one cares about, i had a rearrange of this blog and i want to post properly about vaguely aforementioned horse progress.

it's hard to believe almost a year has gone since i first started this investment, as strange as it seems to call it that, chomper has come so ridiculously far even if our training has been somewhat stilted because of my constant absence while i'm at uni.
it's crazy to me that i can measure what we've done with this unit of time; in a year together we've gone from strangers to friends - i still remember so clearly the beginnings of our relationship, that i just didn't know him, he was simply a horse i wanted to give some attention to because it had been so long since he'd had any. in a year he's learned so much - how to bend, to go on the bit, to walk in a straight fricking line, and of course the obstacles that seemed huge to begin with - trotting (not pacing), and even how to move his legs in a canter. these things aren't things that i could visualise seeing by now, but i guess that's just his nature, he is one of the most willing horses i have ever met, and so amazingly trusting of humans considering the upbringing he must have had with a racehorse past.

this summer i want to go further. i'm getting back into competing, with my mum's horse this time round, hopefully in a few one day events because he's got the skill he just needs someone who doesn't baby him to apply it and actually make him work. and that person is me, however much he pretends he hates me for it. and we'll take chomper out with us for the experience, hopefully we can get him over a few fences with gulliver's guidance and at home i want to start really working him. he most definitely has the potential - he carries himself so nicely with some encouragement, and i can feel when he starts to get something and it catches on as a habit pretty quickly.

i know we need to work on balance - he has a tendency to drop his inside shoulder on a circle which makes his outside leg flick out and completely unbalances him so he has to go off the bit and put his head back in the air to correct himself. i think it comes from leaning on the reins too much, which he is rather good at doing, but i think this is going to just have to be a practice thing - he's still getting out of the mindset that leg aids simply mean go faster (which was fun when we were first learning things like bending and going on the bit), and i think that's just something that needs time to process in his wee brain.
we also need to work on cantering, we've gotten to where he knows what to do, it's just a matter of me being able to teach him that certain leg aids mean that's how we get to where we're doing that, which we have very little grasp of at the moment. he has a lovely, bouncy, forward canter, too, and i want to be able to ride that more than just along the grass verge up the road.
and that ties into transitions, which are an iffy subject. going from walk to trot is fine, he does a little hop but i don't think it's as noticeable to anyone else as it is to me, i'm just the one riding it; but trot to walk at the moment is more like trot to amble to walk, and i kind of want to eliminate that middleman. plus we need trot to canter and back down again before we can go anywhere near a dressage ring.

apart from that, i want to start doing some proper jump training - the very basic stuff we've done so far has been good (well i mean, after he figured out that i wanted him to actually go over the thing in front of him, rather than around or through), he doesn't rush to or from and from what i could feel he was already starting to find his bascule the last time we did a jump session.
i also want to just do some bonding work - we do have a connection now, i think it would be impossible for us not to, and i know he trusts me but it needs to be stronger for me to be happy. there is something that isn't there, and i know i need to stop comparing it to me and porky because that's nine years versus not even one but i want that with chomper, because of the chance that we could really go somewhere together. so there's going to be some reading involved, i think, i want to do a lot and often, so i need some tricks to test out on him so i can see what does and doesn't work.

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