Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Griffin is Five

My grey gelding turned 5 on Sunday.

Fifth year conformation photo - forgive the off-whiteness of his socks; working on our canter one afternoon - he was particularly speedy this day and it was difficult to get him to focus due to a tractor in the adjacent field; jumping 2'9" for the very first time! We slowly built up to that jump throughout our ride and jumped it 3x for a really incredible end to our day.


I love him so.

He's come a long way and I'm really pleased with him - even if he does need to tone up quite a bit! But that's on me, not him, and I've been a very busy girl this summer. We'll be in shape soon enough, but why rush? Our slow and steady course is doing quite well for us. And I honestly wouldn't be too hurt if he went into winter with some of that belly - I've got PTSD from how much weight both horses lost last winter despite my best efforts.

Best laid plans being what they are, my plans to really buckle down and ride Griffin every day this week died with a partially torn quadriceps muscle I obtained over the weekend. Fortunately for me, unfortunately for him, the muscle is healing quickly with rest/active rest these past three days. (Hurrah, because it really hurt like a bitch for 48 hours and I feared the worst.)

I plan to move Griffin into more steady work as summer fades into fall. He's a physical adult now; mentally, he'll get there, too, with time. However, I must note for the record that he has been an absolute super star in his work all summer. I've lost count of the number of rides that began really horribly that turned into "our best ride ever" - only to be replaced by another "best ride ever" the next session.

Our rides of late involve flat work early and follow up with jump work. We use the flatting to warm up and gain his focus. We start slow with lots of bending exercises, building into trot work with bending. From there I like to really mix things up for him with a lot of transitions to keep him guessing - it also serves to get him working from his hind end more. By the time I've done all of these things, he's warm and focused and ready for jumping. (Well, truly I think if he had the choice he would just jump immediately. He's always ready to jump!)

We're not without our bumps and bobbles, but I've got to say, forward progress is very evident. I'm so incredibly pleased with our progress and this horse's work ethic. He really, truly loves his job - especially jumping.

We shall see what next year brings in terms of eventing competitions! I suspect this little horse will love it though.

Happy Fifth, Griffin. Here's to many more.

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