1. Do more groundwork when it's warmer to earn more respect while leading. He's not bad, but we could use some more personal space.
2. Increase Jr's winter wardrobe with some clearance blankets in the spring. Having only one blanket doesn't allow for much temperature adjustment and means I have to wait until spring to launder it again.....eeew.
3. Change his muley mane to a pleasure mane.
4. Get English and Western show tack.
5. Get black pants, chaps, and make a show shirt. Designing and sewing/dyeing a fully custom show outfit is completely within my skills and abilities, however, I don't think I SHOULD until we've proven ourselves in the show-ring. Until I feel like we have some "ring cred" we'll stick with a basic outfit in black and purple that look appropriate and not too flashy. A bay roan paint will stand out enough on his own, I'll let HIM catch the judges attention. I have boots, a hat, gloves, and a blanket from my old show days that I will use. This will save some money for tack, too.
7. Ride in one wtc HUS class and one wtc WP class. KAT takes students to shows all summer long so there'll be one or two I can go to. There's a multi-day show in town I think in May that will be good for us. A whole day on the grounds to acclimate before classes on day two.
I have some long-running goals of learning more about horse care, too, but It's hard for me to pin point actual goals. I will try to start taking courses at my College in Equine Science this year too, but scheduling is kind of tough.
Our ride yesterday was very good. With fewer horses in the arena and a better attitude he showed me his new tricks. Somehow in two weeks KAT turned my boy into a western pleasure horse! His jog is light and tiny but he's still driving from behind. His frame is better and he's spending more time with a lovely relaxed neck. I still feel weird about having his neck so low, having come from arched neck arabs and dressage horses, but KAT said his ears are still legally positioned in relation to his withers, so as long as he's comfortable that way we'll go with it.
I had to start him two-handed but I finished the ride at all three gaits one handed and that felt pretty cool! He had one decent stumble and I have NO idea how to fix that. I'm trying to be super conscious of my balance so I don't throw him off that way. I'm also going to use groundpoles more often to encourage him to pick up his feet. I lunged him over a pole and he stepped on it about 35% of the time. So graceful.
I stopped at Rod's yesterday and bought a new girth and a new pad. Not sure how I feel about the pad. Maybe I'm a bad horse owner, but I didn't want to buy the $130 one and the next thing down was about $40. I worry that this one won't give him enough wither clearance, but I'll try it today and see. They have a great return policy. I looked for a pad I can use for every day and then throw a show pad over for show. The pad is black and my show pad is black. My girth is black, too, so it'll look okay together for show. I think the boy will appreciate the new girth since it has neoprene behind the buckles and my old one was the old string-girth type.