I've been using the winter to really re-focus on Stromboli's dressage. Stromboli was supposed to have some time off to rest and repair after Texas Rose, but after three weeks in the pasture with no riding he became a terrorist, rampaging around, putting his leg through the fence (twice) and taking out his excess energy on Piney and Tonic. He definitely doesn't need to be doing gallop sets, but putting him back into work on a 3-4 day/week schedule has made him a much happier horse. He left last week for more intense dressage training with Claudia Cooley in Springfield, MO. I'm looking forward to more lessons on both horses, and pretty soon it will be time to get Stromboli jumping and galloping again in preparation for our first real event of the season!
The warm winter has also allowed me to finally get Stromboli's "little brother" (in looks only) going.
With Never Ceasing (Piney), I have been focused on building fitness slowly with lots of trail rides, field work, and a little dressage. I believe that building this fitness is so important, especially in a young or old horse, as I want them to have the physical ability to do what I ask of them. When it comes time to go to a show or other outing, the last thing I want is my young horse coming home sore because I didn't prepare him fully, and then associating that experience negatively.
Piney has taken a lot longer to come into his own than I expected. He has never had any kind of bad behavior, except some nervousness and herd-bound behavior on excursions, but until recently, he has always been very "un athletic" seeming, slow, uncoordinated, and had a bit of a weird shaped body. Some shoeing changes, moving him to the barn with the other big boy geldings, and most importantly, giving him the time to grow, has finally made him into an athletic and super fun horse to ride! I have a smile on my face every time ride him! I'm so glad his withers are finally higher than his butt.
I feel so lucky to have two amazing horses that are so different, yet talented in their own way. We also have a lot of exciting new developments at the farm, that will be announced in the coming months!