The past few days I have been working on backing him extensively. I want his rump to muscle up. I feel like his physique is coming along nicely but, he could stand to gain 50 pounds and his top line/rump are a little goosey.
Yesterday I lunged him for a good half hour and worked a lot on cantering. There was also a good sized puddle that he jumped almost every time around. So, he got a good workout and broke a sweat. I hosed him off and cooled him out and he was in a very good mood.
I am gradually switching him from the Ultium/Horseman's Edge to the Omolene 500. He was getting 8 cups=3 lbs of the Ultium mix. The Omolene is lighter and it takes twice as many cups to equal the weight so, it would take 16 cups to equal 3lbs. We have been making the switch for 7 days now and we are down to 5 cups Ultium/6 cups Omolene. I think that once the Ultium has been eliminated, I would like to continue to up the Omolene until he is getting 4 pounds. I think that will help him gain weight. I tried upping his grain before, but the Ultium just made him too hot.
So, today I noticed that he was much more focused and didn't try any funny business. He still had good energy and I had to keep reminding him to walk as he was mostly interested in trotting. I was very happy to see that he had lots of energy without being nutty. We rode for 30 minutes and worked on rating the trot, cantering, and leg yields. We have been working on trot speed and he is really starting to get the idea. When I say 'easy', sit down, and squeeze the reins, he slows down to a sitting trot and I release the reins. When I bump with me legs and start posting, he speeds up. Very impressed with him. The leg yields are coming along nicely and have been a great tool for us. The safest part of the hay pasture is along the tire tracks where I drive the manure out to the compost pile. The hay hasn't grown in along that section. So, I have about an 8 foot wide and 300 foot long stretch that is very flat and has no holes. I worked on leg yielding him back and forth along that and he did wonderfully. His circles are great to the left and his left bend is very soft and correct, but to the right, he speeds up, holds his neck stiff and makes tiny circles instead of a correct bend. I discovered today that the best way to get him into the correct bend was to leg yield left, keep on my left yield cues, and initiate a turn to the right. He can do up to a half circle in a correct bend. I was very happy with that discovery. I know a half circle doesn't sound like much, but for a stiff, one sided horse- it is huge. It also means that we are only half a circle away from a correct bend! Canter work today went very well. Unfortunately, we don't have a proper place to canter with safe footing. So, we were mostly working on straight lines with the occasional turn, and circle, but no consistent cantering without breaks. He knows his leads and relaxes into the canter very quickly. He still rushes in to it with his head up and sometimes pins his ears, but once he gets it, he relaxes. The canter just needs more consistent work to smooth out all of the kinks, but I am very happy with him right now.
Overall, another great day. I think his training is right where it needs to be and I can't wait to get out on more trail rides!