I groomed him and got the saddle on. It was set correctly for the second day in a row. The saddle pad seems to be making a huge difference. I have to adjust the cinch four times however. The saddle pad has memory foam in it, which has a lot of give. It compresses as it gets warm, so I tighten the cinch in the grooming stall, at the round pen, after he has been working for a bit and finally before I get on him. It has, however, cured any issues I was having with fitting the saddle to his back.
Grooming was easy and he leaned into the brush as I worked the areas that were itchy. Then we moved to the round pen. I worked him for fifteen minutes at the walk, trot and canter.
I want you to know that it takes a lot of work to get him to canter in both directions.
I ran in a circle trying to get him to canter to the point where all I could do was stand with my hands on my knees. He knows exactly how fast I chase him and he moves just a touch faster.
After working him for fifteen minutes from the ground I got on him and we started working in the ring. After about fifteen minutes I started working him in figure eights. He was turning with neck reining pressure. I was able to ride him with much lighter pressure and a loose rein for most of the day.
Ashke stops with the slightest pressure and a whoa.
We worked toward a canter. The first time I got Ashke to canter he only took about four steps before we came to a stop. I praised him and stroked his neck, telling him how proud I was of him. The next time I asked him to canter, we managed a couple of rounds before stopping him. I praised him again, rubbed his neck, let him know that he was doing exactly what I wanted him to do. J videoed the final time I asked him to canter, which he picked up as soon as I asked him to take the gait.
I was tickled pink. I expected results from my new focus and great plan, but I wasn't expecting them so darn quick. Ashke is exceptional . . . smart, energetic and quick to learn. He didn't try to buck or act up at all.
Afterwards, I removed the tack and we washed him down. Then I turned him out into the field to graze while he dried. I took pictures to commemorate his eighth week with us.
Starting to develop some great muscle. We can still see a touch of ribs, but his butt and shoulder are definitely filling out.
I love this pic! He looks so good here. His neck and top line are getting stronger each week. He loves getting a chance to graze for half an hour or so.
You can see the roan markings in his rump. See how much muscle he has developed in his rump.
Here is a picture of his top line. His spine is filling in and you can see the sweat markings from where the saddle was sitting.
Such a nice butt.
Ashke's Skull and Cross-bones!
Front left shoulder.
Front right shoulder.
Right haunch. More roam markings. Or bay markings.
We had a great day. He is such a great horse. It seems like every time I start feeling depressed and in over my head he steps up and changes the tone of the conversation.
We fed him a handful of carrots and apples and peppermint treats.