Spring presented herself with an unseasonably warm 82 degree day here in the upstate of South Carolina and while windy, it proved to be an ideal day to add the canter back into Lucas’ rides after the 6 weeks downtime I gave him after arriving. To recap: No, he’s not an Off-the-Track Thoroughbred. He’s a 2016 KWPN by Negro. But after an arduous journey across the country, as well as being a baby—not to mention it. rained. every. freaking. day when not gusting 25 mph winds—it seemed the prudent thing to do.

(If you'd like to catch up on the backstory of Lucas, find my previous blog here.)

In that time, despite all-day turn out, Lucas has, for sure, lost fitness and stamina. And so our training regime, being as he’s not yet 4, includes only the most basic of schooling 3 days a week: walk, trot, canter with changes of rein and very few, big circles for a session never exceeding 15 minutes. I’ll add an extra 5 minutes if I feel the need for a brief longe before getting on. The focus is always upon rhythm/tempo and straightness. As Lucas is built quite uphill and short coupled, it’s important that I try to ride his neck lower from the base of the withers to gain access to his back. As he gains strength from behind he will also have the ability to fill out the rein and remain open in the throat latch, so for now, I’m not concerned if he’s behind the vertical. A balanced stretch that doesn’t plop on the forehand is very difficult for a baby to maintain, and so we do this for very short stretches, making sure his back is swinging comfortably.

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On this inviting day, it was time to add the canter and it felt every bit as delicious as when I rode it during that raw afternoon in Washington state. In fact, it felt better because the warm sun contributed to his relaxation and so our brief canter in both directions with a change of rein and across the diagonal was nothing short of delightful. 

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As we came around the short side and I asked for a circle to steady him (and tuuuuurn that left shoulder) he showed a natural ability to take further weight behind which was a blast to feel. There is untapped power within this youngster that will be exciting to mine in the years ahead.

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I’m too scared of jinxing it all to allow myself to be overtly optimistic either privately or publicly, but I will reveal that, at least at this stage, the Ferro bloodlines haven’t let me down. Lucas is both naturally forward, sensitive, yet wonderfully sensible with no drama. If he needs to look at something, I show it to him and he then dismisses it as anything of consequence. He is tremendously level-headed, as well as beautifully mannered and appreciative of attention—especially upon seeing his very own name plate installed on his door. Y'all, that eye, those ears….

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To read more articles with Pam Stone, please see here.

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