One thing I really enjoy about having a very young horse is that I know exactly what sort of training he’s had. Another thing is that I have scads of photos and videos of that training process!
I don’t always see big changes because I see him at every twice-weekly training ride. And there aren’t a lot of big changes from ride to ride! Occasionally, he looks very balanced and fancy. Most of the time he looks pretty much like he did the last time he was ridden.
There’s a lot of difference from the beginning to the present, though!
This video was taken on March 1, 2021 and was the first time Madigan carried a rider. He’s pretty relaxed about the whole thing thanks to spending the previous year doing preparatory work on the ground.
This video was taken April 26, 2021 and is one of the first times Madigan trotted under saddle. At this point, his training rides consisted of about half an hour of groundwork and about ten minutes of riding at the walk. Early attempts to trot were very awkward- you could practically see him counting the sequence in which his legs were supposed to move. Here, he’s clearly figured out what to do.
Much like the trot, the canter took a while for Madigan to sort out. He especially struggled with picking up the right lead. This video, from July 19, 2021 was one of the first times he picked up the lead and held it for several consecutive strides.
Here, Madigan’s in the outdoor arena for the first time (August 30, 2021). He’s a little distracted by all the things he can see out there: cows next door, pastured horses on either side, construction equipment far away. I love that he’s calm and has one ear on his rider despite the excitement.
We’re back in the outdoor arena on December 8, 2021 and tackling ground poles! This wasn’t the first time Madigan saw them- he went over poles riderless several times over the last year and walked over them a time or two with a rider. I think this was the first time he trotted over some, though. He’s confident and pretty balanced! You can also see he’s wearing a bridle with reins attached to the bit. That was a gradual development with several stages: rope halter with reins attached, bridle with rope halter underneath with reins attached to halter, bridle and rope halter underneath with reins attached to both, and finally bridle with reins.
This is the most recent video I took- January 3, 2022. He looked stellar during this ride! This canter is steady, relaxed, and balanced. He’s figured out which legs go where and when, and his balance is improved from where it was even a few weeks ago.
It’s fun to look back at the progress Madigan’s made over the last year-ish, and I’m excited for what he’ll do this year!