The last week has been foot to the floor busy, not only are all horses training for full weeks and baths
First on the agenda was the Alfredo Hernandez clinic which, for me kicked off last Thursday with organizer duties. I was looking forward to seeing an dear friend and mentor as well as good clients. Wasn't disappointed. Alfredo is full of good insight, not just for the piaffe and passage work but for trouble shooting and gymnastic work.
Despite the up-down nature of weather, most of the horses have been fairly well prepared for this clinic. I was somewhat worried about Danzador, because he's my walking, talking results- for better and worse.
Danzador has had confirmed half steps in hand for awhile now, but I'm a little wonky for asking him under tack (my lack of coordination). He also has a lot He's less fussy about the connection. He just does it, no fuss, no muss, just six quality steps than a couple laps around the arena. He accepts the bamboo as well.
It's almost his learning habits, where, he isn't comfortable, expresses it, and then over time just accepts the pressure. It's also really a useful tool, it's helped improve his balance and his trot and canter work, but to also identify where he's feeling particularly stuck that day.
He didn't really disappoint. For a four year old rising five in two months, he did a wonderful job, and was complemented on his correct basics and foundation. With Alfredo saying he's more than in the correct direction, and for all intensive purposes ahead of schedule. It's a huge sigh of relief especially after going foot to floor to play catch up on major holes in his training. He also complimented on his piaffe and passage work in hand.
It was also a good chance to get a game plan for him. At this point there's three ways of approaching the season. First is the FEI five year old path, which, while I want to do, I know that we're barely pushing the quality that we'll be going up against. Secondly is the national path, which is your normal tests, and finally there's the furlough path- where we take a light year.
Even though he's mentally progressed and is very fit, he's still physically gawky. He's a stork. He grew another inch, he's still gaining width, and needs, my solution for everything: needs more top line. His gaits are still developing into what they will be, and some days it's great and some days it's not. Part of me wants to just furlough for another year, take it light and then in the six year old year, hammer down and go on. But ownership (including myself) needs him to show to have some version of a record as a young horse, and getting him out and giving him exposure would be good too.
The advice was a light year at national shows wouldn't hurt, but let the focus in on developing the gaits and letting him mature physically. Develop the passage and piaffe to develop the canter and trot.
Overall, I'm very happy with him, and even kinda excited about having him develop so quickly. In short, he's fit, and he's ready to roll, now just to bite the bullet and start sending a few entries in. But I don't want to repeat the mistakes of other riders and push too far too soon, and we're carefully guarding him against it.