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Spruce Meadows

I got to visit with one of the herd managers from North Fork on the weekend. She was at Spruce Meadows for a competition and it was so much fun watching North Fork Cash jump. He did reasonably well for such a busy show.

I picked up a stool from her, so I could teach Aslan how to step up onto it . He loves to paw at the thing so far, and he will hold his foot on it, but that is all. I rewarded him twice for trying to step up when I encouraged him, but he is hesitant to repeat this or finds pawing more fun. This is going to take a while.

Everything else is going well. No major differences, just slow improvements. Sometimes things get worse, sometimes they get better. I'm still new to this green horse thing so its easy to get lost in a lesson and forget what we are working on when I catch something else I like. That might be a bad thing, I don't want to confuse him.

There is also the challenge of a busy arena. Trying to avoid crashing or having to cut a circle smaller kind of kills a lesson and makes it hard to focus. Aslan sometimes gets worried about another horse and swerves out of the way when we aren't even close. Or someone comes flying up behind us and he starts to panic like he wants to run away. All things that he needs to get used to but yeah, good luck focusing on the task at hand.

Steering is coming along great, though I have finally found his weak side - the right. I thought he might be right handed but he is left handed. He is crooked on a right circle, and tries to bend his head out or moves stiffly to turn to the right. He resists the rein a lot more by leaning on it heavily or trying to side pass instead of turn when I put some left leg on. His right hand circle gets bigger while his left hand circle he cuts corners. And well when I go to train lateral movements, obviously everything is a lot better when working from his left. His right hand side seems to forget or be stiff or sloppy. Nothing new, move along.

Proper circle - he is getting so that he knows to go in between the cones, but it's not totally there. He also cuts the corners a bit and is lazy with speed. Mostly he cuts the corners on the circle to the left. since it is easier for him to lean in that way.

Transitions - but we have been working on trot to walk and trot to backup as well as upward transitions. Walk to trot is "ok" and better than it used to be, but he still takes some encouragement to move forward. Same with halt to walk. If I pick up the reins he wants to move backward or if I ask for some forward movement he might try lateral stuff. A whip has been helpful here to reinforce the aid.

Circle game - I started asking for a canter. Lots of pressure so I reward him accordingly and let him know that he isn't being "punished". He does get a bit upset but he will eventually learn.

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