Tony was on the road most of August with Ricky. He is a good traveler, but if he weren’t he would be b
y now, Ricky and horses cover a lot of miles! In getting ready to go on the road Ricky put four shoes on Tony, true to his good preparation and gentle nature he acted like an old broke horse, solid and well behaved as can be. Being in arenas while being on the road teaching, he was able to work on more of what we would call arena work; transitions, balance, circles, long rein, soft feel, lateral work, this list really goes on and on. All of these things are touched on during every ride, in an arena or not, it is just easier to refine in an arena.
A huge goal for a young horse is to have all of these things going on and improving all the time, but with a soft and understanding mind. Tony is so easy natured that it would be easy to miss getting him truly broke, he is so okay with things that a person could take it for grated that he understands just because he is “obedient”. Ricky works to give Tony the same emotional support as what a more touchy horse would demand. This really gets a horse broke and helps them become a free thinking and obliging partner.
Physically, Ricky and Tony stepped up in their education by starting to ask for things more and more with two reins. He would ask Tony to start working on things with more straightness. A horse should operate from straightness but from an ability, not a lack of capability to deviate from straight (which would be called stiffness). If a horse only knows straight they will never truly excel within their straightness. But, a horse who can be straight because they have an education and ability to bend and flex throughout their body will actually produce a straightness from a pure place, not an inability to flex. The straightness helps a horse immensely when it comes time to do a job; if that job is working a calf, roping, jumping, dressage, or anything else with an element of refinement it will excel through a strong and flexible straightness.
Tony got his first dental work; he had his wolf teeth pulled and regular balance work done. We have access to a very educated and experienced equine dentist who works hard to be a good horseman along with an exceptional tradesman. He believes and executes wonderful dental work as balance in the teeth is a huge foundation for the rest of the body. Proper grind, wear and balance will actually change a horse’s physical build and the way they operate undersaddle in a very positive way.
Tony is doing great but seemed a little off in his character and was having a little trouble with his right lead. He would and could pick it up but it was a subtle discomfort for him. As we also have access to a good bodyworker, we had her work on him. For simplicity of explanation, she was able to help him through his growing pains and he really did change after the physiotherapy. It was very beneficial in helping him speed along his progress undersaddle and got him back to feeling in tip top condition. Horses can amazingly work through quite a bit, especially with good riding, but it really does help them to excel and progress quickly with good body work. I also think they appreciate the attention and feel the intention of us wanting to help them which really does go a long way.