As you get to know me you will realize that I am against pushing young horses. They don't finish growing until 5 or 6 which means it is so easy to cause long term damage in those early years. When I round pen/lunge I keep it at 20 mins or less because all those circles aren't good on their maturing bones/ligaments. If I get on him before he is 3 it will be just to sit on him for a few minutes bareback. Once he is 3 he won't be worked very hard under saddle. I believe in short rides of 20 mins or so for those first 6 months. Slow and easy will give him a better chance at staying sound for a long time. However, I still have some goals for us! My goals for his first year under saddle won't include any statements about the quality of work I expect out of him such as "An energetic working trot, soft downward transitions, bend in the circles." I have no idea where his strengths/weaknesses will lie. And he is a baby. The only thing I expect out of him is go button, a stop button, and some level of steering. Other than that his first year will just be about experiences, not about how he performs. Soooo here are my resolutions for the next 12 months.........
1) Attend two shows before next summer. "Wait, wait" you say "He isn't even under saddle yet, are you nuts?" I am totally nuts for many reasons but not because I want to start showing him right away. We have tons of very low key schooling shows in the area. I am not worried about how he looks or what score we will get. As soon as I feel like he has go button, and brakes, I want to start taking him places. The more he can get used to showing now, the less stress it will be once I am actually a little more serious.
2) Participate in a combined training event next year at this time. Don't panic!! I won't be jumping him. There are trot a pole classes that won't require any thing that resembles a jump. He won't be jumping until he is five. It will just be a fun low key way to expose him to different types of events all in one show.
3) Ride in a clinic next summer. I have a few ideas about who I want to ride with. I am not looking for an intense clinician just yet. I would like to find someone who understands young horses. I plan to start auditing clinics this winter so I can make a good decision.
4) Go on at least two away trail rides. We have fantastic trails nearby and I can't imagine owning a horse who I can't trail ride. As comfortable as it would be just to take Bre on the rides I need to start working on the baby right away if he is to ever have a chance to live up to Bre's trail prowess.
If I find myself in one piece, with no broken bones, and a happy horse after accomplishing these goals I will feel like a winner. Ok, now to start my starvation diet so I can feel OK about white breeches. I will start right after I finish this pepsi..........
Bre's first show ten years ago when she was four. I hope Dickie is far less exciting than Bre was.