Wednesday, May 4, 2022

the view from the saddle

Most of Buddy's herd,
still a ways off from me.
I haven't reported on my horse for some time (months!). We made a change last summer in which I moved him closer to me from my parents' farm to a boarding facility. It's been a very good experience for him. He's in a pasture with a large herd of geldings, so he has plenty of freedom to roam and other friends for company and play. But it's a big pasture and can take me a while to reach him when he's at the far end (about a half-mile walk) as he was today. I'm glad he was out today in the pasture, though (maybe not so glad by the end of summer). The grass is starting to green up and he needs that. Hanging out near the barn end of the pasture eating the old hay isn't good for him, especially with better alternatives springing up.

Today was a beautiful day, except for the chilly breeze. In a couple of months I'll be wanting that breeze, but for now, it added a chill on what would have been a perfect day. Nevertheless, Buddy was a good boy, where he used to be a snorty freak on days like this.

He's come a long ways in just the last year alone. This spring, I finally buckled down and started asking for more forward and more attention to shoulder-fore. Now, he's picking up the canter from a trot within a step or two of my asking. No more taking lots of set up or running into it. He's so much better balanced, and it shows.

The view from the saddle
is magnificent
I also figured out why he's always so jumpy and fidgety--something missing in his diet. He needs a complete multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. It's a long process how I figured that out, partly by accident and observations that clued me into the issue. When he's on green grass, he's always calmer than on dried grass or hay (which is leeched of nutrients by the curing process and just by aging). I also noticed that when I changed his sweet feed treat to a complete feed, I had a calmer horse about an hour later. I added some Grand Vite to his before-ride treat and that hits him with more of what he needs immediately for a much better ride. He gets the rest after we ride, along with some digestive supplements and beet pulp. It's made a HUGE difference for him.

And that has made a HUGE difference in his training. He's finally reaching more of a solid dressage first level, although now he's so out of shape that we can't work too long yet. His muscle tone is gone right now and he's a fat boy. (He's pretty stocky / solidly built, but one can see the hay belly and the lack of muscle in his hindquarters.) And after our big spring snowstorm, he quit shedding like he had been, but I'm seeing signs that it may pick up again soon. I hope to have a sleek, shiny boy in another month.

I'm going to try to ride more often this summer, which is what he really needs to overcome his lack of confidence in new situations and to build up his strength to advance his dressage work. He isn't a fancy mover nor very athletic (and certainly not built for dressage), but I know I have the skills from all my years of experience and training to help him become something that he wouldn't otherwise have the chance to be. He's already come very far since I bought him as a youngster broke by horse traders to make a quick buck at the auction six and a half long years ago (he's now 9), when I was looking for just a simple little project horse to play with after giving up on the showing. I bought an ugly duckling (in terms of movement) and with proper training, am transforming him into the swan that was hiding inside. If he can be transformed, any horse can be with dressage training. It's exciting to see this sweet little guy blossom into his potential as an adult horse!

The shadow shows me on his back.


  1. Awsome you can’t be the out doors, which will do you a lot if good 😊

  2. Sorry about the spelling.

    1. No problem on the spelling. Thanks for the support.