Training Thunder- Month 6 Recap- April

April was HUGE for Thunder. I can’t believe we’ve been working for six months already! April lived up to the old rhyme about April showers; it rained and rained and rained some more. We didn’t ride as much as I would have liked, but the work we did was solid.

The physical changes in him are amazing. He went from looking like a backyard nag to looking like a quarter horse with pretty good conformation. I see the most improvement in his neck muscles, but you can see that he’s built muscle along his back and his butt too.


I’ve started him on black oil sunflower seeds also. They’re supposed to keep dark horses from fading out in the summer sun and they have a lot of fat so they make the coat shiny. He’s been getting a half scoop mixed into his dinner for about 3 weeks now and I think he looks pretty damn shiny. You have to feed black oil seeds though. The ones human consume can’t be digested because the hull is too hard.


I decided to try jumping him over a crossrail just for kicks. He tends to be on the lazy side but damn if he didn’t pick up the pace when I stuck a jump in front of him. The first day we jumped a board about six inches off the ground. He hit it the first time over but then figured out he had to pick up his feet. He never hit it again. The second day we jumped a regular crossrail and he killed it. I let him figure out his distances. I got him straight to the jump and then he had to find his own takeoff point. Once he got a really short spot and had an awkward up in the air jump, but every other time he did really well. I also let him decide whether to trot or canter the approach. He preferred to canter, but he wasn’t out of control or rushing. He had a good steady canter going and I think he just felt like he needed the extra momentum. Seriously though, how adorable is he jumping?


I’ve said all along that he is going to be a cute mover when he gets muscled correctly. I saw that good movement during the jumping. He gave me a really nice trot, still high headed, but with lots of impulsion and a good rhythm.


Jumping was fun but we really need to do more flat work. I need to work in two point at the trot to improve my leg and he needs to practice stretching and relaxing. We’re going to be doing lots and lots of trot poles for both of our fitness. After a solid month of trot poles, we’ll probably go back to jumping.


I’m so thrilled with him though. He has turned out to be such a great little horse. His size and energy level are a good fit for me and he’s a lot of fun to ride. Originally I bought him because he wasn’t getting much attention from his former owner, but I’ve totally fallen for him. I never in a million years would have picked him out to buy. He’s a bay (my least favorite horse color), he was ewe necked and he’s little. But he’s turning into a really nice horse and I couldn’t be happier with him!


It’s official. He’s a hunter.

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Take a good long look at this picture. See how round he is! How he’s really stepping under himself! How his head is lowered and his ears are pricked! He is perfect! PERFECT!!!

When I first bought Baron, he rode like a giraffe. or maybe a frightened camel. Now he looks like a show horse. I’m so ecstatic I could just die.


And all of this without a martingale or a crazy bit or draw reins! Hell, we don’t even have a trainer! He’s finally learned how to carry himself (and me) in the easiest and most correct way. Oh how many years it took to get here! So much time and so much money! So many hours in the saddle just trying to be a better rider so that my horse could be his best, and now look, here is proof that hard work and correct riding will pay off eventually!


I am still an intermediate rider at very best. My elbows need to be more bent and my leg could be further underneath me. And I’m pretty sure I was on the wrong diagonal most of this ride. But my horse is getting it, and I’m slowly but surely improving as well. I could not be more proud of him. He looks like a perfect hunter pony, and he’s able to carry himself like this for more than just a short burst. He’s getting into shape and I’m trying hard to do the same.