Thursday, 30 August 2007
Today I had an absolutely fantastic session with Columbus! We started with 30 minutes session on a chambon and he worked beautifully, really stretching down and working through.
His walk was good, he overtracked very well.

First 20 minutes of trot work was excellent with consistent rhythm and he looked very powerful, relaxed and supple.

He was tired in the last 10 minutes but still worked well.
Our problem are transitions because he joggs with very high head carriage just before going for a walk. I therefore asked him to slow down the trot to almost the jogg he so likes but then asked him to flex and stretch. He was not too happy about it first but then his head carriage improved after a few tries. It seems quite difficult to him to carry himself well in a very slow pace and so I continued to ask him to slow down, relax, stretch and then I sent him off forward again. I worked on such changes of gears for about 10 minutes. He showed an improvement but was still too tense to be pleased with the level of work.
In general though I was impressed by how he went. It was a lovely piece of work and certainly a great one for Columbus.

I then rode him for 25 minutes. We worked on flexion, acceptance of the outside rein and inside bend. Although still rather reluctant Columbus definitely felt much better than last week and I was able to execute a few good circles to the right and some decent ones to the left. He also chewed the bit very nicely creating substantial amount of white foam ;) Nice change after his dry mouth.

Mrs. Owner brought some old pictures of Columbus and Rosie to show me and they were so stunning I just had to put them on here!

This is Columbus and Mr. Owner showing in a Cleveland Bay class three years ago.
Below is Columbus having a jolly jump! I am told he loves jumping natural fences outdoors but due to his rather big body and rather small amount of schooling he is not a big fan of show jumping as such...;)

And below again is Columbus and Rosie with Mrs. and Mr. Owners!

Monday, 27 August 2007
If Columbus could speak he would probably tell me that sauna is not his idea of fun. Poor guy looked like he stepped from one after our 30 minutes lunge session. I was pleased with the first 15 minutes of work he produced but the other half was rather average. The heat must have been really getting to him as he could not show much of a spark in trot. His early work was good though and his walk must be one of the best I have ever seen! He overtracks beautifully and the amount of ground he covers takes your breath away.
In the ridden session he was still a bit of a brute but he definitely listens more and he managed a few halts without pulling my arms out of sockets.
I am looking forward to Columbus muscling up and loosing a bit of weight as that is when the true work will be able to start.
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Well, I am happy to say Mr & Mrs. Columbus's Owners enjoy the diary and as I was told " it will all help Columbus to get over the embarassment of yesterday when the saddler came!"

I decided to copy the further email content sent to me by Mrs. Owner as it sums up the visit of the saddler nicely and gives some insight into what Columbus thought about the whole thing!

"Poor Columbus - he has put on so much weight behind his shoulder that his
saddle is too tight (hence the bouncing at the cantle when he is lunging) .
He tried breathing in, but it was no good - even he had to admit he had been
a bit of a couch potato this year. Anyway thank goodness we still had his
old Falcon saddle, which the saddler says fits him much better, so he can
continue with that one until he loses the weight again in the Autumn
(hopefully!). Anyway I don't think he took it too much to heart - I heard he
saying to Dilly something about 'a bit of weight never did Arnold
Schwarzenegger any harm!! ' - thats males for you!"

Big Boy might need to have his diet re-thought and the training should also help put him back into a good shape.
Saturday, 18 August 2007
We had a real breakthrough today with Columbus finally getting the idea of stretching and it was really good to see his whole body working in a relaxed, yet athletic, manner. I did 35 minutes of lungeing on the chambon to start with, asking for some flexion to the inside, then releasing the lunge line and asking for stretching of the neck and energy from behind.
He is not yet consistent in a longer outline and tries to find his balance by lifting and shortening his neck instead of pushing forward with his back legs. He looses rhythm if not send forward and is a little wary of the whip. The latter also makes him tense which does not allow me to send him as much forward as I would like.
There is still a lot to be done on transitions but for now I concentrated on him actually understanding what is required from him. The next session will be more demanding and I will make sure we change gears a lot.

Ridden session was also a step forward. He felt much more forward than last week and the work the Owner put in is paying off. Even if it is just a walk exercise it is extremely valuable and keeps the muscles working.

The left rein is much easier for Columbus who works in a banana shape on the right rein. I will be working on developing his both sides evenly in the next few weeks or as long as I continue to school him.
I was really happy with how the chambon work transpired into ridden work, especially in trot to walk transitions. Columbus has a tendency to jog instead of offering a trot-walk transition and he also likes to tense his neck in the process. Today, however, we managed a few decent transitions and there was considerably less tension in him. He also willingly stretched down in the end of the session.
I introduced Columbus to the chambon - a classical training aid which I use on all horses when I start training them. The chambon develops correct top line muscles and helps develop a horse who is a true athlete not an artificial marionette.
Columbus tends to get tense and didn't want to stretch at all on a first session. I let him have quite a lot of freedom and the chambon was set on long.
We also did some flexion and transitions work which is quite poor but not desperate! I find Columbus really enjoyable schooling project and he definitely tries to please.

The chambon made Columbus work quite hard and although he did not want to relax fully he offered some promising moments.
Pictured left is a very tired Columbus being sponged down after his schooling session.
My first session with Columbus was in a form of a 40 minutes ride in a field. I concluded he needs to go back to basics and be taught how to be a cooperating gentleman.
He hasn't done much in his life in terms of schooling but does some hacking in a lovely Richmond Park and is very well looked after.
He would definitely do with loosing a little bit of his fatty deposits but mostly they just need to be turned into muscles (which he lacks).


Hi, my name is Columbus and up until July 2007 I didn't really have to do much. I know I am a rare breed i.e. I am special and so everybody should treat me like a king. I mean, I spend all days with two nice Connemara ladies; we chat, eat and enjoy life! What more could one want!
I am an easy going chap but if I don't understand something I can get stroppy and will let you know I am not quite happy, that is for sure.
I have great owners but Lady Owner (who also owns this nice grey mare -Rosie- I share my field with) decided she wanted some lessons and so I somehow got involved.
I was not overly happy with my first training session but then my Owners got a little more involved. I started getting more attention and I figured that this whole training might not be too bad...Then I heard Wiola saying I have 'presence' and 'could be great with a bit of training' so I thought I would participate in this circus...for now!

Wiola decided to keep this diary to record my progress. Well, I won't be arguing...