Well, it was a beautiful morning, a perfect way to start Surge’s under-saddle training here at Paradox Farm. We decided to work with our trainer to get Surge started properly and to have a good plan of action with him. We tacked him up and made sure everything fit properly. I’m happy and a bit surprised that our saddle fit him quite well. We did use a cutout pad since he has such high withers.
Once tacked up, we headed to the arena for a lunge session. Surge’s feet are probably not yet 100%, and we’re working him in the Old Mac G2 boots. They seem to be helping for now. I am looking forward to when we can shoe him, which hopefully will be soon. He still needs to grow some hoof on one side so the nails will have something to hold on to.
Our trainer then took over and went through a lunge session to see how well he would do. We’ve lunged him a few times ourselves, and each time he gets better. The first session was a bit wild, but who can blame a horse who doesn’t know what a circle is? Today he was pretty good about the whole thing. He is not a fan of having someone on his right side, so that’s something we’ll need to work on. He is much easier going to the left. I can see, though, that when he’s feeling better and we get his feet straightened out and he puts on some weight, he’s going to be a nice mover. Also, he was not at all silly or spooky the entire session, which is a huge bonus for me! I’m not a big fan of spookiness. The older I get, the less I bounce when I fall, and the less I fall, the better.
After going through his lunging session, my husband, Jerry, got on. Our trainer worked very slowly still on the lunge line guiding Jerry through walking and trotting. They worked on the circle at first and then moved out onto the rail, still on the lunge line. They worked on square corners, guiding Surge into them instead of just letting him cut those corners. His stride was shorter with a rider on his back, but he was willing and pretty responsive, though maybe a bit on the sluggish side. My trainer put a flash noseband on Surge halfway through the ride because he was opening his mouth quite a bit. Even though the noseband was on the loosest hole to start with, once it was on, his strides actually got choppier, and my trainer explained that that is often the case, that a horse may feel like something is holding him back, but he will eventually figure it out and that will go away.
Toward the end of this first session, my trainer had Jerry trot over a pole on the ground, just to see how he would do, and it didn’t phase him at all. Then before reversing and taking the pole in the opposite direction, Jerry was released from the lunge line and took the pole solo. They both did really well!
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with how this first under-saddle training session went. I will look forward to getting on him myself, soon. I tend to let my husband do the first few rides, as he is more athletic than I am! And he’s very willing to help, which I love. We finished his session with a good bath. A good day indeed.