If you haven't seen it yet, check back two posts for a video of the things we worked on in 2011. I'm so proud of Chrome and all that we've done together. He's such a good boy.
So 2012 is the exciting year for us because he turns three years old! That means I finally get to start riding him after two and a half years of waiting. :D
So here are my goals for 2012 . . .
1. Ride Chrome! I bet you couldn't guess that would be my first one lol. My plan is to sit on him for the first time on his third birthday 5-19-2012. Depending on how he acts I may have my husband lead him around for a little bit, but I do want to make sure he's completely comfortable with me getting on and off before we do much moving around. To prepare for riding I'm going to build a mounting block and do a lot of practice standing next to it while I lean over him from both sides, wave my arms around and touch him all over. We're also going to work on ground driving to prepare him for being ridden. If he already knows voice cues and how to walk, halt and steer then the only new element will be having weight on his back. That should make it a lot easier for him.
2. Get Chrome in shape. I want to get Chrome in shape before I start riding him, so that he has the muscles to support me. The easiest way to do that would be longeing, but I don't want to stress his joints so we will go on lots and lots of hand walks around the property and on the roads. The roads will also have the benefit of continued trail desensitization. I'll also keep playing Chase the Tiger with him to get him moving around in the trot with his head low for building muscles over his back. Also what is everyone's opinion of cavaletti? Is two too young to trot cavaletti? If it is I can just walk him over them to make him pick up his feet. That will teach him to watch where he's going and also build muscle. I want to make this a slow, gentle process. I'm not going to overwork or over-condition him like a halter horse (not bashing, just using stereotypes for reference). I also want to walk him up and down hills because that's great for the back and learning to use his haunches. Anyone else have any suggestions for ways to get him ready for riding physically?
3. Get Chrome more comfortable with hauling in the trailer. I want to be able to start taking him places so I need to get him more comfortable in the trailer. If he's nervous and sweating I won't be able to go anywhere in the summer because he'll sweat to death. So I want to use the cool weather for practicing. I also need to teach him to stand tied in the trailer.
4. Introduce Chrome to obstacles used in Competitive Trail Rides. I want to build my own obstacle course and work with him on them, so that we can do CTRs someday. It will help build an even better bond between us and teach him to trust me as well, which will be great for trail riding in general.
5. Have fun with Chrome and be safe!! I think this is probably the most important one. So everyone when I start stressing because I don't think I'm doing enough or not doing it right please remind me of this one lol.
So that's the plan for 2012! I'll wrangle my husband down and get him to tell me what his goals for Faran are and get those posted as soon as possible, as well as some goals for Zep. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, safe and productive year!!