Tuesday, March 31, 2009


That's the secret, I need to smile more and stop taking myself so bloody seriously. I was discussing the extra energy his back was creating with a friend in the UK and through a chance line about how her horse made her smile I unlocked the problems that I've been causing Moo.

When I concentrate I lock up my jaw/neck/shoulders and this obviously creates tension lower down in my back and probably hips too. Whilst it isn't the cause of his extra energy and *beans* I certainly don't think it's helping him direct his energies to the right place. So this morning I smiled and relaxed my back as much as I could and he was much easier to 'get into' especially in the sitting trot. It was a good session though and he now listens to my leg rather than just rushing off it. This brings me to a point about the effet d'ensemble. After just two sessions of asking him to accept more and more leg into a closed hand he has become much more accepting of the leg aids. He doesn't rush away and fly through my hand but takes his balance more underneath him and lifts up into the rein. So for the moment the work is done, I won't use it any more for fear of getting him too much turned off to the leg (a problem it sounds as if Baucher had). I certainly feel that for an overly energetic horse this exercise works and it maybe that I have to fine tune it every so often but I won't use it before/after every exercise/change of direction as Baucher advocates....was he referring more to a half halt/rebalance?

Monday, March 30, 2009

a game of two halves

That's the nature of the game though, isn't it, the yin and the yang? I had great hopes this morning and sometimes that can be one's immediate downfall. To be honest it wasn't immediate because he worked beautifully in hand and stood on totally looped reins whilst I mounted (this is something new and I'm pleased with the progression) and even worked well in the walk and the trot warm up. However, as soon as we were warm enough to start some *proper* trot work we went into yeehah, let's canter mode. Well lucky for me I am pretty patient and so I just had a laugh at him and slowed (rather I tried to) the trot with my seat and worked on changes of rein, a little leg yield etc and tried to connect us in the trot. I was getting quite fed up and to the point where even my infinite patience was about to dissolve and so I realised we needed action. So I kicked my ass (metaphorically of course) and continued. We had a break for stretching and then more trot, serpentines, loops, voltes etc and finally he came to me, expressive and working over his back. He was just a tad heavy into my hand but no curling back and generally quite acceptable.
One thing I noticed is the amount of movement he now has in his back, I am now using some sitting trot to help me connect to the hind legs a little more and don't believe a word when they say Iberians are easy to sit because they have little movement in their back....that is certainly not the case with Moo!

must be more careful...

....not to keep loosing week-ends. Where do they go? Spent most of it offline as Patrick unwittingly severed a phone cable, this meant I had to spend 20 minutes on the 'phone to SFR going through line tests etc and only to find last night that it was our fault, lol.
Saturday was quiet, Lydia off out hacking at the club but aside from that a day in the field for the boys. Yesterday I had a good lunge session with Moo (his trot is really finding a lift that I never even hoped for) and Lydia and Cacahuéte had fun learning to lunge. It's amazing how kids just pick things up so quickly, her body language skills were better than lots of adults right from the start. Very proud of her and that poney.
Yes Di, I will sort some video out, need to get to grips with what it's all about too. As usual Baucher really doesn't give a great 'how too' and Hotte says some conflicting things in his book.

Friday, March 27, 2009

all in together, never mind the weather

Ah well, couldn't expect the sunshine to last forever and we did need a drop of rain (well my newly planted shrubs in the back courtyard did!!).
Having played with the idea of l'effet d'ensemble (the antithesis of leg without hand, hand without leg) yesterday I decided that today I would play some more. Theoretically it is the idea of bringing the hindquarters underneath, nearer to the centre of gravity by gentle urging with the spur. The hand doesn't *give* the horse effectively renders itself (ramener) by relaxing at the poll and thus the horse balances between hand and leg. Baucher advocates this for hot horses who need steadying but equally for dull horses who need lightening. To begin with, in halt, the spur is pressed lightly but then progressively increased until the horse takes his balance back and releases the forehand to be light and available.
OK so I have a slight problem in that I don't wish to train with spurs. My horse is extremely light and needs so little to urge him forwards that I don't see the point. Ah yes, the spur theoretically enables the rider to use a lighter and more precise aid... well I'll just have to be guided by my horse and if at some time in the future it is better for him then fine but at the moment I don't feel we are ready.
I do have a slight problem with the effet d'ensemble as perhaps it may teach a horse to be less reactive to the leg, however, in the case of Moo that is exactly what I'm after, less reaction to the leg.
So, less theory, more practice and back to today's work. From walk I asked halt by closing my lower fingers on the reins, at the same time moving some weight into the stirrups and breathing my legs away. In the next split second (as quickly as my human coordination could do it) I renewed my ask for the halt with my hand staying closed (but no more take) and the legs wrapping around the horse (staying long around him) and then *pulsed* this long wrapped leg feeling until I felt the poll and jaw soften and chew as in the jaw flexions. After the initial confusion (he offered to rein back) he stood calmly and came to my hand with his back up and round, it was a great feeling. We then walked on and he was *into* the rein and after a stride or so I released the lower finger contact and he stayed up to my hand.
I'm going to need to work more on this but my initial thoughts are that for a hot horse, not offering to come to the contact without curling back then this may be an answer...perhaps, I'll let you know!!

It goes without saying that Moo played the game (I swear he laughs at me) in true style and so we cut short schooling and pootled up the lane, only a *quickie* as it had started to drizzle and I don't *do* rain.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I had a lovely session with Moo this morning. I wanted a short time in the school to try out something with the contact in the halt; last night reading Oliveira's *Reflections* I was reminded that he used a Baucher (his pic to the right, I dig the trousers!!) exercise (pages 46/7). I don't use spurs with Moo so it was just a case of letting him feel more leg into a closed hand and not the spur but I think with some tinkering it will give good results. Certainly I had some much better transitions both from walk to halt and halt to walk/trot.
Then we went off down the field, leaping the tiny ditch like it was an Aintree fence, lol, and had a couple of canters up the chemin; he was such a good boy and seemed to love it, me too:-) Then we went up through the hamlet round to the old school and he was very well behaved, walking out well but not being daft or giggy.
Fugly has gone, picked up last night by the previous owner. I know they'll be back with something else soon but the respite is nice.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

more Moo work

Back on board this morning after a few days break (mainly due to not wanting to incite Fugly to gallop around and further damage his tendon).
Moo was a very good boy, mouthing beautifully in-hand and working calmly under saddle in spite of Fugly peering over the fence. Good trot work, balance is definitely coming and worked lots on the transitions to and from trot, slowing the rising gradually to get a relaxed jaw and neck into the walk. He tries so hard.
Finished with a canter (yay, this still excites me) and can complete a full circle on the left rein, not yet on the right but he does at least strike off correctly. It's all a bit *wall of death* stuff at the moment but I love his energy and the fact that he tries so hard to please. We had a meander down our chemin to finish and he copes so well with the steep hill now, even if he does have to *jump* the little water drainage ditch that is all of 6'' wide/deep...bless.
re:Fugly, he was re-visited by previous owner after I told my neighbour to call the vet (no of course they didn't call him). They seem to be leaving him be and he has at least calmed down (although it's too late as it is already bowed) apparently ERF can only do something if he is ridden like it and then they need video evidence; hope it doesn't come to this.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AIDS the substance (part 2.b)

Writing this blog is really helping me, maybe I'm being a little too self analytical all the time but jeez I need to be as I have so many bad habits.
This morning I lunged Moo, first let me say how darned proud I am of my boy, he is finally growing up. Moo managed to walk down to the school calm and quiet in spite of Fugly running around and calling, he also lunged sensibly and listened at least 90% of the time (thank goodness for clicker training) and went back up to the yard without a hitch.
Whilst lunging I realised how much white noise I give off, extra little noises to urge him forwards or slow him down, inadvertent movements of a hand or the whip. Gawd I'm like some kid who can't be controlled, lol, so how the heck do I expect him to pick out the important bits? I tried very hard from then on to just give commands, whip up to go, rein hand up to stop, step to the shoulder to turn on the forehand etc etc I could use just body language or just voice to make him stop and go so why use both at the same time?
After a couple of days off work due to Fugly's arrival (he is much calmer now) I was so happy to be back to work, my horses keep me sane (ish).

Monday, March 23, 2009

AIDS the substance (part 2) stop/start

It fascinates me that so few books give clear instructions for stopping and starting. Surely these are the two most important aids and all else is based on these. One writer who makes it very clear how simple and separate these aids should be is Kyra Kyrklund, for this reason I often recommend her book and I would urge everyone to read her thoughts on this subject.
Part of the reason that I'm writing all this is to clear my own mind, I think I know what I do when I'm riding but until I start to break it down then I can't be certain. To stop I use my hands, to go I use my legs. Always (at the beginning) separately and always aiming to get them to be the smallest/lightest possible to get a reaction. I recently read a lesson report from a friend and her trainer had suggested she ask very quietly the first time but to build it to *asking like you have PMT*, lol, but that's the rub isn't it? It's no good going through twenty different levels of asking, it has to be first discretely aided and then loudly but always being certain not to have even the tiniest opposing aid in place. What I mean by that is when you ask forwards in the early stages then you must never block with the hand, the horse must always sense that he can go forwards. Likewise when we aid for halt we must remove any thought of a driving leg. Later these two fundamental aids of hand and leg can be *played* together but not (for me) in these early stages.
Of course this work will have commenced, dismounted, at liberty, in-hand, on the lunge etc already with Chapiro I use the whip or my hand at the *g* spot where I will later use my leg and so it won't come as any surprise when this continues into his ridden work. On the ground we can use body language but this becomes pretty obsolete when we climb aboard, however it must be very important in building a trusting bond between horse and trainer.
In recent years I have *played* with the idea of clicker training, it doesn't change the methods but it offers a really accurate reward system and enables you, with some horses, to advance more quickly and avoid the *PMT* phase of aiding.
There is so much to say on this subject I think it will be rather a long project. Tomorrow perhaps I'll be able to talk about how I use my legs and hands, better ride and take some notes!!
Can anyone else recommend a good writer on stopping and starting? Think I may have to get a book list on here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Me, very mad arggh.
My neighbour who would appear to have no sound horse knowledge (bought a saddle in Bogota and then had to buy a horse to go with it) moved lone horse in yesterday. Aside from stressing mine out (they'll get over it) the poor bugger ran around his field all evening, all night and yes all morning. They live about 12km away and it's a second home, yes I know bizare, so they didn't turn up until 2.00pm this afternoon, by which time he is hopping lame.
10 minutes after they arrive he's tacked up and coming past our gate. Hey I say, did you notice he's hopping lame, no says the son as he dismounts and we have a feel of the legs. The poor horse (ex race, galopeur) has the most horrific feet, overgrown and splitting and it looks pretty obvious that he's done his tendon. The son can't feel the huge swelling but he did notice when pointed out that he was resting his front toe to give his tendon some relief. I recommended rest (they have no stables) and the vet but I doubt they will. I just wish I couldn't see him across the fence, we've christened him Fugly for obvious reasons but he seems a sweetie.
Sorry to moan, wanted to say lots about aids tonight but unless the steam flow from my ears dies down it may have to wait.
Spare a thought for Fugly tonight please.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AIDS the substance (part 1)

Well I've been putting this off for days but feel I really must get on or I'm never going to get my thoughts into perspective.

I hope that I may get some feedback to help me direct my thoughts but until then I'll make a start on my own.

In the Aids ramble pieces I touched on Podjasky's advice regarding aids and for me the following is burned into my brain **The rider must have an exact understanding of his aids and their effect, and must make use of them intelligently; he must not allow himself to be influenced by his feelings.** So we are scientists first and artists second. We can dream of dancing in harmony with our horses but it only works if we understand the how, why and when, the basic mechanics of movement. I am sure that there are some who will disagree with that last statement but for me it encompasses training, art based on sound science. Just like a great chef only develops his *art* after he understands the science of how food works.
I recall reading Udo Berger's book The Way to perfect Horsemanship the first time and how absorbing I found the chapter on biomechanics. Here, for the first time I could work out, scientifically, why exercises worked. Of course, nowadays there is a wealth of books on the subject and lectures/ demonstrations to attend. Now we can all be amateur scientists and train our horses through science with an artistic heart.
There are so many good authors that discuss the aids and their effects and I hope to draw on their sound knowledge whilst looking at it from the perspective of a middle aged woman struggling to accept the boundaries of her broken body.
I shall begin the next installment by discussing the importance of the fundamental aids used to move our horse forwards and to stop him. The cornerstones of any system of control.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Skating on thin ice

Today was a *family* day and we ice skated and then wandered along the banks of the Vienne in Limoges watching the deeply intent boules players and stopping to drink small cups of strong coffee.....The horses had time off and Moralejo was the latest victim of my camera testing!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Walking on sunshine

Whooo hoooo!! We cantered, we cantered yay!!

Moralejo was so good (wish I was a clever as him) lunged first which is something I stopped doing because it just got his beans all shook up but today he went straight out on to a circle and stretched down in walk, then in trot. He was really cool and calm and the trot is starting to look like a proper trot, lol.

Got on whilst he stood perfectly (he does this pretty much always now) and the walk was contained but still expressive. We did lots of lateral work and then on to trot which was again pretty contained for him, everytime we lost the balance I lifted the reins (or sometimes just one) and made him take responsability for himself again. We worked on walk/trot/walk transitions which need LOTS of work but it's going to come good, I know. Then lots of direction changes in trot, large circles, small circles figures of 8 and anything that avoided being stuck on the track. It helped also to sit to the wrong diagonal in the trot and then swop backwards and forwards between correct and not to keep the inside hind leg straight.

Negatives at this point; he gets heavy through transitions around trot and is slightly over cooking the flexion (horizontally) but you can't have it all straight away I suppose.

Then towards the end we were having a stretch down in trot and I asked him back up into a shorter frame and hey, it felt just like it should be a canter transition so we did.

Hallelujah.... the boy can canter and so that's why I'm walking on sunshine (oh and it is gloriously sunny and about 20 again).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

lovely day

It was probably the most perfect day in terms of weather; sun, gentle breeze......ahhhh. Got motivated early and lunged Moo first thing and he was really good. No *beans* just calm and forwards when asked, lovely canter transitions and calmly back into a stretch down in trot afterwards. We worked quite hard and even on a mild morning (with a coat still nowhere near fully shed) we didn't raise a sweat, so he's definitely getting fitter.

Lunch in the garden, afternoon spent mowing and levelling the school.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Modest, humble, opinionated

Hehehe, I'm on one!! At the moment the brain is a tad quicker than the one-fingered typing (mother, why didn't you send me off to touch typing classes??)

Someone was buzzing in my ear this morning, chap on the TV droning on about how BBC journalists shouldn't have blogs because, by their nature, blogs are opinionated. In fairness I have to agree, whilst I have opened mine to all and sundry, the likelihood of any great exchange of opinions is minimal.

This got me thinking of the great equestrian authors we all admire. So many of them talk of humility, modesty, respect etc but in reality the whole concept of writing a book about training horses pretty much says, I know how, I have an opinion, I am better. Doesn't it?

What about those great guys (lets face it girls, the old guys were always *guys*) who never wrote a book, were they truly humble, self effacing? Or did fate just never put them in the right place to write a book?

This morning I was chatting to Lydia's riding instructor and she very kindly offered to assess me for my galop 7 (as a requirement to compete at affiliated competitions in France you have to pass a test, eg Lydia has her galop 1 and some unaffiliated comps require a galop 2-5 depending on age) so I spent the 20 minute journey home thinking where I could buy some decent white jods and long boots and planning my return to the competitive scene. Whoa girl, back down to earth!!

The question is though, why did I get so moved at the thought of, once more, donning those threads? The answer, I feel, is close to the reason the *old guys* (and the new guys too) wrote their books.....recognition, fame, immortality.

So how do those of us with little true ambition in the field of book writing or competition get ourselves out of bed and get on with the day? I suppose it is just the great pleasure and joy that these incredible animals so generously and unselfishly give us. So perhaps too that is the overwhelming reason that the old guys wrote their theories down but then again, we'll never know.
Pics of Lydia at her club session this morning.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Just what today turned out to be. To start with the weather was fabulous, 20° this afternoon and perfectly spring like. Moralejo has been stuck on a plateau for a week or more, still consolidating the walk work and trying to make some sense of the trot, arrgghh but today we got ourselves on the next step of the very steep flight we're on.
For the first time since he's been back in work we stayed in trot for over 10 minutes!! Usually he just gets more and more stressed and eventually we have to walk to get back to some balance but today we broke the barrier, YAY.
We worked on some reverse shoulder-in, shoulder-in, leg yield and shortening/lengthening within the trot and he just got on with it. We even had a stretchy trot like we get on the lunge and he was really working his back. OK, he was probably a teensy bit curled back but honestly this is the first time I've managed to *move* him in the trot and get a good response so I'll take what I get for now. Yesterday we had a lovely play up the hills, trotting up and walking down and saying a hearty *bonjour* to the villagers in their potagers planting up their perfect rows of veggies....the joy of spring.
Oh and almost forgot, I had a lovely time working with Estelle and Tosca, he really is a super little horse. Also found time to get to the nursery and buy a number of shrubs for the garden, so next week I'll be busy again!!

Busy, busy

Just a brief update as I've been busy this week and busy today too, off to work with Estelle and her cremello stallion later and so need to get off and ride Moo now.

Looking forward to a nice glass of fizz this evening (been on reduced rations this week!!) and a catch up with everyone else's blog. Maybe I'll start my next ramble.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FEI petition

If you feel strongly about the welfare of competitive dressage horses in terms of the current fashion of fixing their mouths tightly shut with a noseband (especially the so-called *crank*) please read the following from Horses for Life and sign the petition (link below) there is no need to donate, just exit the petition at that point. This link gives extra info http://www.sustainabledressage.com/tack/bridle.php#crank

****Join us and help petition the F.E.I. that all dressage competitions should only be shown with the horse wearing a cavesson with two finger width between the horse's face and the cavesson, both in the show ring and in the warm up ring. This rule has been a standard for generations of horsemen and accepted as being the best for the horse. This rule/standard was so accepted around the world by every teacher and rider - that it was never even written down. Now we see training practices that include crank nosebands and rollkur. Training practices that are physically, emotionally and mentally detrimental to the horse. A return to this simple rule, that will be easy to teach and enforce, can make a huge difference for horses not only for those in the show ring but for all of the horses, whose riders and teachers use those horses in competition as their standard of correct training. Please sign today and share this with all equestrians that you know, and together perhaps we can make a difference***


Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

long reining

It's been a good day. That is if you discount being up at 3am with vomitting child, bless her she is so mad at missing pony club.
But..aside from lack of sleep and having to be a proper mum (I'm so crap at that) I had a good day.
Bought myself some new long reins a short while back, lovely corded section to pass through the *D* rings on the surcingle, in preparation for starting Chapiro. So today I tried them out on Moo :-) It's a long time since I worked him in long reins and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he went. Worked on a circle, spiralling it in/out and then got *behind* him to do some lateral work. Counter shoulder-in and leg yield along the fence (to be fair the easiest of the lateral stuff) and he was very obliging. Then I had a *moment* and decided to take the outer rein off and work from the inside rein (we are only in a cavesson with the long reins attached to it) passed through the *D* ring on the surcingle. My goodness what a trot we had, I kept him out on the circle with the whip and my body but used the rein to ask him to bend. Asked him *down* with voice and he was happy to stretch down and use his back.
Probably just that I've been bereft of neddie work for two days but it felt so good.
Off to read some Sylvia Stanier and Dietz to refresh my aging memory on long reining, lol. After my back op 10 years ago I had hours of lessons in ground work, just need to spring clean the memory, I hope!!

c'est arrivé

OK, be prepared, the camera arrived, lol.

Just getting to grips with it but so far very pleased. No great horse news as Lydia was off school yesterday with a tummy bug and today will miss her voltige course at the riding club, needless to say she's rather miffed.

Just a shot of Chapiro who, aside from pony chasing, is prooving to be a balanced 3 year old and a bee on a crocus in the garden.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Persisted it down today, oh well, can't really complain because we've had a run of lovely weather. It was a shock though, when I rolled out of bed at just past six to feed, to find I needed hat and rain coat.
Being Wednesday, Lydia was at home and so the pone got a bareback workout *rolls eyes heavenwards* and seems to have come to some agreement regarding rein back, lol.
Moralejo worked really nicely in-hand but I'm having to be imaginative to get him to work his near hind and really step over in the lateral work but it is slowly improving. Did a little more trot in-hand and it just goes to show that even if an aid is well known (on the lunge I use the verbal *trot* plus a lift of the end of the whip) if it's applied in the wrong context then it might still be misunderstood. He looks at me as if to say *what me trot whilst you just creep along in walk, you're 'avin a laugh* but he did *get* it and so we clicked and finished.
Chapiro continued to be good on the lunge and we worked on some *free* work which he really seems to enjoy.
Hope it's fine tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


...is a day spent with horses and friends!! A beautiful spring like morning spent tootling around the chemins of the Dordogne, mounted on Di's girl Corky and non-stop chatting, lol.
Tonight Lydia whipped up eggs, fresh from Di's dove grey chooks, and we made *kitchen sink* omelette with fat home cut chips and great dollops of ketchup *sigh* end to a perfect day.
Gorgeous eggs, thanks Di.
Finally ordered the new camera so I'm looking forward to posting more 'pics again soon.

Monday, March 2, 2009

teenage thug

3 year old horse= teenage boy, or so it seems. Could have cheerfully strangled Chapiro yesterday, he was on one and chased the pone mercilessly until I managed to catch him (he was flat out bronco so not easy). This morning I worked him a little in the barn before turnout and he was fine all day; worked him again this evening in the school and he was a little star. I've had a few sessions keeping him *outa my space* (for me the MOST important lesson) and sending him away from me in either direction with a hand aid and tonight we linked it all up to going away from me onto a circle, in walk. He circled both ways on the lunge and so we stopped there and went for a quick walk in the field before dinner. Good day really.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Aids the final (for now) part

Right, I've GOT to finish this section on the aids. Somehow I think it is only the beginning but that is for another day.
I don't think it's hard to agree that aids should be for and with the horse, as small and light as possible...imperceptible to the onlooker. It's easy to agree too that we must work with the physiology of the horse, creating individual recipes for each horse. Of course my preference is for a lighter, brighter type but that (as I'm daily reminded) comes at a price. I loved what Carl Hester described as *discrete* aids being needed for the hotter horse and that is exactly how one feels riding these types; eat sand if you want to be anything less than discrete.
I touched before on the idea that the horse and rider could communicate without words, a kind of ESP. Paul Belasik is a real *thinking* trainer/writer and I'll finish for now with where I hope the whole system of aids can end up.

From Paul Belasik, Dressage for the 21st Century....

After years of training and repetition, the horse and rider are sensitive to each other's muscular pulses. For the rider, there is no need for thrusting gestures of the pelvis. The physical training of the dressage rider is athletic but suggestive, not forced. Although the practice of dressage is beautiful to watch, in a real sense, it is not for watching. If it is proceeding correctly it is too subtle for the observer to see anything change on a given day. Usually it is just practice. The rider seems to be in the same position day after day but the horse is magically being sculpted.
In fact there is a physical melding; rider and horse do gradually become one. There is also a psychological melding, which is all to often glossed over. Riders become fitted with a 'twin' that gives them literally superhuman strength and speed......When they undertake the study of dressage and position, I don't think many riders realise what is about to unfold-or what they are going to have to face.

Aids are therefore our 'way in' to this incredible world where horse and rider become one, unable to see where one starts and the other finishes. Our aids will become so subtle as to be imperceptible, perhaps they become just thought exchanges or perhaps just that we become adept at knowing when it's going to go wrong and acting rather than reacting.


Yesterday I felt like giving up, lol, but today's another day. I felt he was énervé (I love this french word, agitated, annoyed by something etc...) yesterday, right from the start. No relaxation and just high speed jigging in the trot. Put him away feeling quite despondent. Lucky for me Patrick has ridden him in the dim, distant past and so we had a glass of wine and dissected the situation; made me feel much better, or it could have been the wine!!
Today I applied my brain and stopped riding like a dummy and he was much better. I used lots of lateral work in the walk, his leg yield across the school is really getting there now. To prepare for the trot I rode square serpentines across the short side (ie small!!) just from my thighs and weight. Then trot transition and ride a large circle keeping my rising really slow and defining. Transition to walk and change rein to ride the exercise on the other rein. Really found his hind legs through the square work and this seemed to help him balance through the transition to trot.
Saddle was great :-)
Spring is on it's way....first daffs came out yesterday and we have a great tit doing some diy in the tit box.....