Basil has been very busy since our last blog! He very quickly progressed to being ridden in the arena, in walk, trot and canter, I am so lucky to have a large arena however with a young horse this means they have to learn turning aids very quickly. It didn’t take too long for him to learn what meant left and what meant right. However, my next challenge was teaching him to strike off on the correct leg. Basil has a beautifully balanced natural canter which is amazing to sit on, however, it does mean that he is very comfortable and balanced cantering around on the incorrect lead! I practised a lot of canter transitions with lots of reward and praise when he got it correct – he quickly picked up on the aids.
We were just about ready to take him out hacking when unfortunately he picked up a small virus. He was absolutely fine in himself but coughing a lot so we gave him a course of antibiotics and decided it was the right time to give him a holiday. He headed off to the field with Smarty (my European horse, who I am hoping was sharing all his experience with him!), and another of the youngsters. After 8 weeks of eating a lot and growing a very thick coat, it was time for him to come in and start the new year with a tidy up! He got clipped, mane and tail pulled, shoes put back on, teeth checked and physio gave him a once over, he was ready to get going again!
Unfortunately, I had a fall in December which meant I wasn’t back riding so we called on a jockey friend to get back on Basil and start him hacking. He spent a few days in the lunge pen and arena reminding him of all the aids and then headed out and onto the Ridgeway. He took to it like a complete pro. He was brave from the get-go, puddles, tractors, other horses, dogs, cyclists- nothing was a problem for this youngster! My head girl Charlie took over after about a week and absolutely fell in love, it was quite a challenge to convince her to let me get back on him! Charlie did a great job of starting his schooling education, she showed him how to work in an outline and once again after a few days, he found it easy.
I was finally back riding and was overwhelmed by the difference a couple of months had made. He was even more balanced, was really starting to focus on the rider and he felt really relaxed about it all. I have continued to vary between schooling, hacking and introducing him to jumping. His naturally brave character came out over the coloured poles, he was scopey and careful from the first jump. We are now focussing on him staying balanced after the jumps and teaching him how to pick up his own stride. Our original problems with him worrying about mounting and dismounting have completely disappeared, he doesn’t find it worrying anymore and I can get on and off of him without any assistance. He has really come into himself over the last few months and every time I ride him I can’t help but get so excited about his future!
As lockdown restrictions ease we will plan to get him out schooling at other locations, introduce some XC fences and continue his education with the hope of getting him to some 4yo competitions this year.
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