For my horses, not much has changed during the pandemic. For me, I’m adjusting to a  new rhythm that does not include packing and unpacking. Being stuck at home, I thought I’d have more time to ride, but it turns out running a business during a shutdown and producing daily content is more time consuming than I originally thought.

My two personal horses, Annie and Pepperoni (both Quarter Horses; 13 and 4 in age, respectively), get ridden or longed five days a week. Annie is a finished cowhorse and as such, just needs enough riding to maintain her skills and enough exercise to keep her from looking like a Thelwell pony. At 14.0 hands, with a curvaceous figure, she leans that way.

Pepperoni has matured nicely as a 4-year-old, after a challenging adolescence where he seemed determined to injure and maim himself. I love training young horses but it’s even more rewarding when they mature into reliable, hard-working adults. I’m not saying he’s fully mature yet—he’s still prone to an occasional burst of adolescent exuberance every now and then, but he seems to have grown a brain this year. I’ve even been able to use him in video production, which proves he’s come a long way and is actually making himself useful.

Pepper has advanced in his basic training enough where his higher level skills are developing nicely. Currently, we’re working on pivots from a standstill, canter departs, collection at canter and lead changes. He’s gotten pretty good at bending, counter-bending, leg-yielding and he’s starting to neck-rein. Recently, he had a light bulb moment about doing a jog trot on a loose rein—it was as if he finally realized we’re not really going anywhere when we ride in the arena, so there’s no need to get in a hurry.

We have been getting the horses out on the trail and up in the mountains more (shutdown bonus), which has been a lot of fun for us, great experience for the youngsters and refreshing for the older horses. I’ve enjoyed working with Melissa’s colt, Woodrow for groundwork sessions in the Daily Doses of Horsemanship Homework. He’s a brave, bold horse that’s not afraid of much and he’s quite expressive at times! But he learns fast and has been an ideal demo horse with his dramatic and righteous behavior.

In a few days, I’ll be picking up my new foster horse—a 4-year-old deaf QH named Doc Gunner. He’s in need of some training before he’s suitable for adoption, so I’ll have a new training project to report on soon. Stay tuned to Facebook and YouTube to watch the journey of this colt as he transitions from a rough start to what I hope will be a brilliant future.

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