Our cute little Quarter horse Toby has had a busy few months in training. After completing his quarantine in early July, Toby spent several weeks doing groundwork, obstacles, and work in the roundpen before we began riding him consistently. We knew nothing about his history, but suspect he was roughly handled in the past as he was initially very standoffish and headshy around people. After several months in a steady program, we have learned much more about this quiet little guy. He continues to make steady progress in his training, and although he remains quite 'green' in certain areas, it is clear that he will make someone a lovely partner in time.
Toby is very sensitive and smart, and quickly figured out our array of obstacles. From the first day that we took him out on a hack, Toby has been one of the most dependable trail horses on the farm. He goes out happily on a loose rein either solo or in company, and displayed the same relaxed attitude during his several off-property field trips. We have taken him over little jumps in the arena and out in the fields, and he has been unfazed by natural obstacles like water, up or down banks, and ditches. He certainly seems to favor the great outdoors over arena work, and we can't really blame him there!
Where Toby does need continued training and support is in his flatwork, which he finds more challenging. We wonder if he may have previously been ridden with a tie down, as he can be very high headed and reactive to contact. When we first began riding Toby, he had no concept of any bend or softening through his body--what he knew was to rush around with his head up, using speed as a way to keep his balance. That doesn't make for a very comfy or relaxing ride, so we began the slow process of introducing him to bending, softening to contact and stretching correctly through his body. We are very aware that all of this is completely new to Toby. It takes time for a horse to develop the strength needed to carry themselves in balance, which is what we ultimately would like Toby to do. Once he figures out what it all means, Toby will be physically much more comfortable and relaxed, not to mention more fun to ride!
We look forward to continued slow, steady work in the arena as we teach Toby how to use his body in a whole new way. He is currently able to balance himself well in the walk and trot, with the canter remaining more difficult for now. This versatile and sweet little guy has been a fun challenge, and shows a lot of potential. With continued training and experience, we know that he will have a bright future.