I have been doing lots and lots of trot poles with the little guy, and that part he totally gets. He just pricks his ears, picks up his feet, and prances fancily on through.
We have also been working on building a steadier, more collected, more balanced canter. It's really coming along, and he's starting to get that slow and rhythmic is what I'm looking for.
Yesterday, we did a bunch of gymnastics. We ended by trotting in over four poles to a cross rail, followed by a bounce to another cross rail, then cantering out to the left (his weaker lead naturally, though it's getting to the point where you can't tell under saddle.) He was landing softly and cantering away without leaning on my hands, and we ended there.
I wish I'd had someone there yesterday because it would have made for a lovely video to put in his sale ad.
On Monday, I got lucky and got to the barn at the same time as one of the jumping students who has been wanting to sit on Brooklyn.
I asked Savannah if she would be interested in getting on him for me so I could get some pictures of him jumping, and she willingly agreed. I just can't seem to ride and take pictures of myself at the same time. If someone wants to get me one of these, that would help me out, kthanx.
Savannah is an excellent rider and brave jumper. Here she is with her mare, Tink (also taken on Monday):
I had Savannah warm Brooklyn up inside so they could get to know each other within an enclosed space. I had to laugh because Savannah has a very electric seat and lit Brooklyn up. He was very forward with her, and it was interesting for me to see the OTTB side of his personality. I ride very mellow and slow and relaxed, and my job is largely to calm and slow and soften young/green/remedial horses. Savannah is a jumper who largely rides made horses. The difference cracked me up. She handled him beautifully, though, and we moved outside shortly.
Savannah's dog, Mack, tagged along to the outdoor, and Brooklyn seemed to downright enjoy his company. Savannah did tell him to go lay down, and he did it, before we started any serious work. Still, Brooklyn is best described as as a horse who wants a pet. (He regularly pets Thomas, the orange tabby barn cat.)
|Not bothered by the dog tagging along.|
|Not sure which I like better... the flagged tail or the crazy eye.|
After doing some walk and trot around the outdoor, I had Savannah head for a cross rail I had already done with Brooklyn. It had some flower boxes under it, which made it wide instead of tall, but he hadn't been the least bit fazed by that when I rode him.
So, again, I ride up to these baby fences with this attitude of, "Ho hum, tritty trot, hippity hop over the tiny cross rail and mosey away."
Savannah rode in with body language that said, "We're jumping now."
So that's exactly what Brooklyn did. There was definitely no hesitation, and he looked pretty sharp.
|I need to shop in a bigger fence, but I love his expression and his front end.|
So we regrouped and tried again. The second jump ended with a softer landing and Savannah let Brooklyn canter a few strides before coming back down to a trot.
|As someone said on FB: Well, that don't suck.|
We ran through that a few times until he was loping away from it, and then I popped it up to his first teeny-tiny vertical. That was also totally fine.
We called it quits after that, ending on a great note. I'm pretty excited to keep playing with this horse. I think he's going to be a super cute little jumper if we continue to take it slow and don't over face him. I'm doing lots of lunging with him so he can learn to carry himself without balancing a rider. Meanwhile, we'll do lots of cross rails and gymnastics with me on him.
So there you have it... this week's update on Brooklyn.