Time sure has passed quickly. It’s hard to imagine that we’re wrapping up Joey’s sixth month in training (and consequently, away from home). I couldn’t be more pleased with how he’s handling his new grown up life, even if it’s away from my prying eyes on a daily basis.
The only snag we’ve really hit is that he became foot sore last month and Trainer suggested that we go ahead and put him in front shoes, which immediately solved all of his issues. He’s working hard, so keeping him feeling good is our top priority. Much to Trainer’s dismay, he pulled each front shoe once the first week that he had them on. Once being a derp and somehow tripping over himself walking into his stall and once forging at the trot, which doesn’t really surprise anyone as big as his trot is. Trainer was a farrier before he started training horses full time, so at least there aren’t any delays or scheduling issues to deal with to get a shoe put back on.
Joey’s main flaw is that he’s lazy, which is actually totally fine with Trainer and I because it means that even when he’s eating like a king (which he is), he’s still not prone to being hot. There’s a lot more whoa than go to be had, and we’re both totally fine with that. It does mean that things Joey finds physically difficult are met with more resistance. For instance, despite being reining bred, he’s not wild about sitting back on his hindquarters and pivoting…because that means he has to lift his shoulders. Trainer has taken it slow with him and hasn’t put as much focus on that for the last few months, just touching it occasionally to see if Joey puts the pieces together on his own. Now we’re at the point where this is his new focus because all of the other aspects of his training are so much further along. Hopefully with a little pressure, he’ll start to realize that picking up his shoulders and turning is far easier than doing a bunch more ugly spins while Trainer waits for the one good one to reward.
The good thing about that becoming Trainer’s new pet item is that it means Joey’s lope has improved. I’ve actually held off on loping Joey myself because if you’ve followed this blog for long, you know that I harbor some loping anxiety myself (thanks Lil Man and Copper…). Luckily Trainer is incredibly supportive and doesn’t want to pressure me into anything I’m not ready for. I’ve previously ridden with people that are of the mindset that the only way I’m going to get over it is to push through it, and with a broke horse, I totally see that logic. For instance, Paige. There’s no reason I should be afraid to lope her. Do I still get nervous about it? Sometimes. Do I push through because I know her goal in life is to eat more cookies instead of toss me into a fence? Yep. The same logic does not apply to green baby two year olds. While Joey’s goal in life isn’t to toss me into a fence either, he’s still a baby and babies do baby things. One of Joey’s baby things has been to be a little squirrely at the lope transition sometimes. So since the last thing I need is to be afraid of my baby horse and the last thing Joey needs is my inexperience allowing him to get away with something that Trainer has actively been correcting, we’ve been holding off on the loping. Trainer has been very encouraging and says that there are infinite things to learn about your horse at the trot and has me extending Joey’s trot and practicing standing the trot. Standing the trot felt SO weird the first time and has definitely been working some inner thigh muscles that have been dormant my entire life, so we’ve been making good use of our time. Joey’s progress does make me optimistic that my turn to lope him is coming up soon, which I’m actually growing more excited about vs. nervous. Trainer has told me that I’m the one making the call and just to let him know when I’m ready and he’ll put me on the lunge line the first time so I can get used to the feel before I’m 100% in charge of steering. I MAY have told trainer that I have been known to forget to steer at the lope. 😂
Trainer also has several obstacles around the outdoor that I enjoy playing with. I know Joey well enough to know that obstacles aren’t something he’s going to overreact to, so even if Trainer hasn’t done something with him before, I’m not nervous about attempting it. Worse case scenario is we do it poorly and Trainer has something else to work on. Trainer has been joking about turning Joey into an obstacle challenge horse to beat the man who boards with him and shows in those competitively and the man didn’t seem to find it as funny as Trainer and I did…perhaps because the little two year old might be good at it? 😉 With that being said, Joey’s first off the farm outing is currently supposed to be an obstacle challenge in NC with Trainer (and said man…). He won’t be competing (or at least that doesn’t seem to be the plan), but will just be there to work around other horses under saddle away from home before going to compete next year.
I do want to get my chiro out to adjust Joey soon, though timing it may be tricky with Trainer going out of town for the AQHA Worlds in the next couple of weeks. We’re also trying to figure out some opportunities to haul him out that are close to home and have indoors, which is a struggle this time of year. So far the only thing I’ve found is a barrel race…which is humorous. If Joey can keep it together watching hot headed horses turn barrels, he should be game for anything right?
I am really excited that my weekly visits now involve me riding Joey after Trainer shows me how things are progressing with him. It’s incredibly easy to forget that I’m cruising around on a two year old who has six months of riding, which says a lot about both Joey and Trainer. I’m looking forward to seeing where we are after another six months! Maybe we will have already gotten through our first under saddle show by then? 😎