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  • Sinéad Christie

Sparrows Hill

As I am writing this Harry has been at his working holiday home for 1 week. An amazing week it's been.

He arrived Saturday morning, was lunged in the evening in the dark. The first time he has been exercised in the dark and he did amazingly.

At home he is in the stable at night and out for a minimum of 6 hours a day. Here he is in most of the time with about 2-4 hours in the paddock. But I don't mind this as he gets exercised on top of this.

Sunday is Harry's day off as it's the only day I've still got work - I took two weeks off too.

This week Harry has done lots of carrot stretches and pole work in hand which includes going backwards and raised poles. These I try and do daily to keep him stretched.

We have completed a couple of schooling sessions in the two arenas we are lucky to have. He has been great but not bending well to the right. One session included another horse in the arena and working to keep him focused on me as we haven't ridden lots with other horses in the arena. Again he put no hoof wrong.

We have also hacked out where we went over his first ever train track, came across lots of road work, went through a small river/large stream, and road on a main road. He took everything in his stride, even the lorry that stopped within a foot of us when waiting at traffic lights.

We have also had some in-hand walking around and a couple more lunging sessions.

A girl also came up and sat on Harry as she loves him! So he had a couple other people sit on him and feel how different his saddle is.

It has been a very busy week, we have stayed in the trot and walk keeping everything steady paced and never doing anything for too long on the days I have done two sessions of work with him. eg Monday was schooling for 20 mins then 5 mins of pole work in the evening. It's nice to break it up and get him out of the stable more - that's my thoughts anyway.

He really seems to be settling towards the end of this week you can tell from his stomach being tucked in to now being more relaxed.

Today Harry had Carol Grant (an equine bodywork and massage therapist, https://carolgrant.org/) come out. She said he was a little sore from the extra work as you would expect but also very sore on the left side of his neck and poll. Which would explain him not wanting to bend to the right. So Harry is booked in when he returns home to see Carol again and hopefully that'll help him.

A brilliant busy week and very rewarding.

++++ UPDATE +++++

Harry is now back at home. We hacked back along a main road. He was amazing and the traffic was kind - I did try to leave early (7.30) to try and miss the work/school run. I also took my Go-Pro, I thought I had turned it on but it didn't work. I'll learn to use it one day! I tried to use it on earlier on in the week when we were schooling but that didn't work.

We concentrated on schooling this week.

Harry decided not to canter on the left rein so I re-established this on the ground. I believe ground work is key to ridden performance. The next day he was great and cantered. I also focused on him riding around the school doing circles with long reins. Harry is used to a 20 x 20 arena where he can easily lean on the fence so this would teach him to carry himself and not rely on reins. We completed this at walk, trot and canter. He has done amazing this week too.

Monday riding in 20 x 60 school walk and trot, various shapes with good contact.

Tuesday - In 20 x 60 arena but there was no lights and it was getting dark so we did various shapes in walk and some circles in trot and stretches out through over bending in both directions.

Wednesday - day when he was fighting to canter on left rein

Thursday - rode for 15 mins in arena working on long rein and listening to body movements. But storm Doris arrived and we started to be hit by twigs and mini-pine cones. He was great but I didn't want to push him.

Friday - lunge and ground work re-establishing the canter.

Saturday - circles with long reins

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