What’s up with Elton? January 2013
Elton loves Florida and when he saw the transport truck through a haze of snowflakes he charged up the ramp with confidence with his friend Aryzona. Both of them are Florida troopers having been here before.
Elton will be 5 the last week of June. He has had a growth spurt this fall but is still just under 15.2 hands. The amazing part of it is that he has a deep heart girth and when you jump down you feel like you have been on a big horse.
Most of the fall had been spent in more environmental training.. i.e. . utilizing the rural aspects of the Maine farm for trail riding, small cavalletti, exposing him to more and more “obstacles” so that nothing will phase him from upcoming competitions. He is a whizz at opening and closing gates while mounted.
While in Maine , I still had not felt that he was old enough or strong enough to be ridden until he was ”tired”. Finally here in Florida I feel him getting fitter and fitter. We have huge fields as well as the beautiful mirrored arena to ride in and I take Elton out to canter and trot around the fields several times a week . Gaining confidence and strength to stay on the bit and in balance while on uneven ground is something all horses must learn. In addition we have a long set of cavalletti set up that all of the horses use on a regular basis. Without hill work they are necessary to tighten and strengthen the stifles.
Elton has been addressing the second level work and is confident in most all of it. The simple changes are smooth and so we proceeded to begin regular schooling of the flying changes. Most weeks he does 2 a day 4 days a week. He is currently on his third week and has finally had an epiphany. He figured out that the aid was a request to do it … the change. … J . It sounds simple but we all know how difficult clear communication can REALLY be.
Last week he also had another milestone with having the double bridle on for the first time. This process can sometimes be a long slow process for some horses… but for him it was a non-event. We went hacking the first day and he clearly was comfortable in it. To date he has worn it 6 times and is doing so well that I will work him in it tomorrow for our friends Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jenå of Sweden who are stopping for a visit and will give me and my Florida Dressage Experience Program Trainers his opinion. We are always so pleased and excited to have such a notable with us! ( Many of you remember that I went to Sweden with mount Cody to consult with Mr. Jenå and worked and stayed at Flyinge AB.)
In this developmental year for Elton we are beginning to clearly address the transitions within the gaits which are the basis and strengthening for collection. All of the hacking, cavalletti and slow careful short periods of riding have been leading up to this beginning of asking for more uphill balance and for him to show some suspension when he is asked for forward activity from the leg. It is just the beginning but he is looking confident and is cheerful about it. In addition he is asked for 3 or 4 steps of piaffe in hand 3 or 4 days a week. If he responds positively he is given treats and walked away happily. With the attitude that it is fun, easy and a “game” he is enjoying this and developing it. Elton is changing daily and is fun to ride. Come join us here in Florida.. He is one of the horses that we include in our program so you too could come and work with him!
Keep in touch!
Elton and Ida