Y’all, this pony…
Yes, he can be a little flighty, but for dressage we all (well, at least I do) want a sensitive and reactive partner to fit the job description. So while that might come with a spook here or there, or an inherent need to depend upon their rider to keep an exemplary position to support their balance and give them confidence, in the end, the power that arises—even if it’s pint-sized—is pretty addictive.
Little Seger (named after Bob Seger) has been going from strength to strength as we’ve added trot poles to his repertoire. I have to set him up perfectly straight, and at the absolute right tempo for him for him to remain relaxed and not brace going over them.
(If you’d like to check out my last post about Seger and learn about his background, read it here!)
My friend Laurie, who does such a super job of videoing our rides and is Seger’s biggest fan, declared she’d never seen him use himself behind, particularly his weaker left hind, as he did following a handful of lines over the poles. I also think the lateral suppling work we do at walk and rising trot (with his long back and young age and the fact that I am 5 hands taller than he is, there’s no way I would sit his trot for months) has helped his back to swing, lift and carry me around.
But by far, the biggest improvement has been the canter. You know, in dressage we are always told to buy the walk and the canter. Any trot can be improved, but you’re pretty much stuck with the walk and the canter the horse has.
Welp, whether it was youth or weakness, Seger went from a nappy, head shaking, mediocre canter to what has now, thanks to consistent reps of trot/canter/trot transitions as well as an awful lot of ‘forward and back’ within the gaits, to something just short of being airborne!
Despite his small size, I am having a blast with this little guy and will miss him when he returns home to his mom at the end of the month. He’s like driving a Mini Cooper—you just want to grin the whole time you’re riding him. He’s nimble, catty and responds with a surge of power when requested. Look, I know that in the competitive world, giant warmbloods reign. I’m very tall and they are the horses I’m used to and most comfortable on. And if you happen to have the ability of some other petite riders, such as Helen Langehanenberg, you can pull it off on those behemoths. But if you don’t—believe me—some very good things come in small packages. And I think Seger is one of them!