Oakley is one of the newest additions to the farm. He is a 20 year old, 14.1 hand Morgan/Welsh pony cross owned by the MSSPA. After several weeks of work, Oakley is starting to settle in and his personality is really starting to show. We don't know much about his past, including any riding career he may have had. Because of that, we are starting from the ground up with Oakley to make sure all the fundamentals are there and to help him increase his fitness level and proper muscle tone.
One thing that has been invaluable in helping Oakley begin to feel his best has been massage sessions. He has a lot of soreness that is most likely a result of the bad situation he was rescued from, but after three sessions we can tell he is starting to feel much better. This has been evident in both his attitude, and movement on the lunge line. When he first arrived Oakley was very stiff and reluctant to move forward, but already he is moving more freely and offering to stretch through his neck and back as well.
We have started to progress from lunging to ground driving and long lining with Oakley and he was at ease with all of it! He is proving to be quite the little superstar and we think he has definitely done this before. Ground driving is a great way to teach a horse the basic principles of steering, and is a great way to build up muscle and confidence. Although Oakley seems to be telling us that he has had prior experience, it is still a great way to fine tune the aids, while helping a horse to gain a higher level of fitness before introducing a rider.
Oakley has also shown us that he also excels with obstacles and the challenge they present. He has not batted an eye at anything we've shown him and even seems to enjoy them! Pool noodles, cones, logs, mattresses, he even walked straight over the teeter totter his first try! These obstacles are great desensitizing tools and can help horses gain confidence while practicing overall groundwork as well. Oakley has already improved leaps and bounds since he arrived a short time ago, and is impressing all of us with how quickly he learns. We all agree that he has a very promising future, and we look forward to continuing his training and seeing what else he knows! Keep checking back for more pictures and updates on this cute little guy.