A Moment in Time

Winter's almost over, it's time to look back!
Bast has been in a stall at the fancy barn for 2 months now. It's time to look back and evaluate his training and changes. He's made some improvements I don't even notice, so I feel like this is very needed. Let's look at things in a basic overview fashion.
Super chill, super fab.
Changes made:

1. Bits. In the last two months, I've tried 4 bits on Bast. I went from Pig's KK bradoon to Pig's old stainless eggbutt. When the eggbutt was met with positive results, I bought a copper eggbutt. That one was rejected forcefully. Finally I tried a nathe, but was not wowed by it. Bast leaned on it, and did feel comfortable going into my hand, but was not quiet in his mouth. We went back to the stainless eggbutt, which Bast seems happiest in. This bit is the longest of the bunch, and I leave it hung low in his mouth. It's weird, but works.
Mouth shut and quiet? Awesome.
2. Sitting trot and seatbones. Spraining my ankle in January made me ride more in sitting trot. I quickly realized I wasn't applying my seat bones evenly in the saddle. Fixing this has led to a lot of sore abs and an upset crooked pony. However, the work is paying off in straightness and strength. Yes!

3. Bridle. We finally received the cheek pieces from Eponia, and put my lovely Gatsby bridle back together. This means we ditched the drop, which Bast never responded to well.
I do love this bridle.
4. Regular hacking introduced. We've been getting out a couple of times a week for little walks through the fields, and even working on some of the more difficult terrain surrounding the farm. I'm so proud of Bast for crossing calmly through deep puddles and mud, though he still likes to nervously leap creeks or streams. With every hack he gets braver, which makes me happy. We've even graduated to trotting and cantering on our hacks, with super results.
Also galloping in snow is super fun, and a new positive experience.
My goal with Bast overall has been to build his experiences in a positive manner. I have been stressing him in little ways, and allowing him to "win" those experiences. That's resulting in a curious horse with growing confidence. That's exactly what I want in a partner, and I'm so happy that work is paying off!

Training Milestones

1. Canter transitions. These were the first things to break when we came back to the fancy barn, and will probably be the first thing to break when Bast loses his relaxation for a long time. He is not only back to cantering off my aids, but even nicely stepping under himself and into the gait most of the time. This is still a work in progress to make consistent, but they are so much better than they used to be.
Look at us cantering calmly off into the sunset...
2. Lateral Work. While Bast occasionally still thinks my left leg is total fake news, he's progressed from working on leg yields to working on solidifying the shoulder in, playing with half pass, and moving lateral work into our warm up. It feels like years since I couldn't manage a turn on the forehand with my stiff horse. Personally, I think the half pass work is going to be as much of a breakthrough for him as it was for Pig. Something about moving sideways and being responsible for your own balance seems to soothe the TB brain.
Not exactly lateral work, but supple nonetheless.

3. Managing difficulties. As we've increased Bast's grain and changed his diet, he's started to come to each ride with an absurd amount of energy. Honestly, his individual turnout has probably contributed to this issue most of all. I am hoping when we turn him out with friends this issue will be mitigated. However, I've been so happy that 10 minutes of cantering has managed to restore his brain. All this work typically doesn't result in bolting if ridden tactfully, and the canter work can often reinforce the uphill tendency I'm trying to encourage. Overall, I'm so happy to have a horse who regularly gets better as the ride goes on.
Straight. Forward. Beautiful.
I have a ton more to say about his training, and some video to share. But first, we're going through some changes I'm trying to stay on top of. More on that tomorrow...


  1. He's the hunkiest little bay guy around! I'm also envious of your lack of layers in those photos. I know the cold will be breaking soon, but it's been so windy and bitter this week that I can hardly fathom wearing anything less than 2 layer with a scarf, hat, and gloves!

    1. Bahaha! I'm currently wearing about 5 layers. 😂 Pretty sure those photos were taken during the 30 min it was above 40 this winter.

  2. Love that Eponia bridle too so glad it fits him now!! He looks great absolutely totally diff than last year! Great job!! I look forward to seeing what you do with him once the weather decides to cooperate! HA

  3. He is looking so good. Braver every time is a really good pattern to be in. Sounds like you are moving in the right direction.

  4. He looks so different compared to last year.


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