Marley was great tonight. I have switched gears a little bit with him in hopes to have him better prepared for this weekend. I've been asking him to trot and canter over obstacles on the ground, go through the barn, approach other horses, and pretty much anything else that he could encounter this weekend that I could possibly practice at home.
After a great workout I spent a lot of time grooming Marley and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset together. I took some photos on my phone, so while they aren't the best quality, at least you get to see what a beautiful evening it was here. I love Colorado sunsets over the mountains.
Oh, and Marley has definitely been working on his rocks, the one I left in his feed bin has a flat side where he has been licking it. Thanks Katherine!
Katherine came out today and brought us a brand new shedding stone AND some Redmond rocks! Marley wasn't sure about the rock at first, but I left one in his feed bin and one in a pail on the floor. He investigated them a little bit, but was obviously more interested in his hay.
Before riding Marley today, I started him off in the round pen trotting and cantering over a pole on the ground. Once he was solid on his placement with the pole, I raised it off the ground slightly. He trotted over it fine a couple of times, and then he learned that he could easily knock it down by just barreling through it. Great, not what I had in mind for my future little jumping horse.
I changed my approach a little bit and raised the pole to a height that Marley would actually have to jump it rather than just step over it. He was surprised, but he figured it out and actually got over it without bringing the whole thing to the ground. I basically moved him over it each direction until there was the slightest bit of grace in his timing and form, and I left it at that. I really liked letting him figure this all out with me off of his back and I think it will make a huge difference when we actually start moving over obstacles worth jumping under saddle.
On a side note, gymnastics (jumps in a grid line) are in Marley's future, perhaps after the clinic as I don't want to throw too much at him in one week. They will undoubtedly help with his timing, form, and muscling.
When I got on Marley, I only rode him for about 15 minutes. We did a lot of little bending exercises and some transitions, and I noticed he was responding really well to my leg and seat aides. I dropped my reins and put my hands at my sides, and I was able to turn Marley to the left, right, halt, and move forward using only my legs and seat. I'm so proud of him, even though it isn't perfect by any means, this is big progress for him.