Well it's January already. Time to take stock and map out our plans for the New Year.
Val and I ended 2009 with a very challenging trail ride through the woods (our second) that included several unanticipated dismounts and was punctuated by frequent hunters gunfire. The fact that one of our companions cantered off without us (we were fertilizing) really didn't help at all. When we finally made it home we did end the day by calmly circling around our ring. My pride suffered more damage than my body so overall I'm feeling pretty lucky.
The first issue I want to address is bits. I did get Val's bit size (5 3/4) when I purchased him but only recently found out what type of bit he was in with his previous owner... a d ring slow twist snaffle. I had started him off with a loose ring french link snaffle and tried 5 1/2 and 6 inch sizes, the 5 3/4 being hard to find. The sizes weren't really right and the loose ring seemed to pinch him. Overall he just hasn't been comfortable. A couple of new bits are on the way... I'm going with eggbutt snaffles, one slow twist and one french link. Can't wait to try them out. Will report later :)
We will also be getting on a more regular training schedule. The weather, shoeing issues, and the crush of the holidays have limited our practice sessions as well as our ability to get to my trainer for lessons. October was out last trip to Virginia. While we have made some progress regarding trailering and handling on the ground, we need more hours in the saddle. I want to attend a clinic with Erik Herbermann sometime this year... there's a lot of work to do!
Lastly, I resolve to focus on enjoying my horse. There needs to be a balance between work and play and I think our partnership will benefit from more fun :)