It was one year ago that I brought home Chewbacca! Aug 4 was our 1 year anniversary! I didn’t do anything special or treat him out to a fancy dinner, lol, but I did make him a yummy bran mash with his vitamins once he got done working.
I got my husband to come out and take pictures of us working, because I wanted some photos instead of video.
Thankfully, Chewie isn’t exactly a “firework” kind of guy, but still, I know every drive can’t be perfect, right? Well, then again, I was rather spoiled with him from riding, because every ride I had on him always was.
Of course there’s plenty of places where we need to improve. Forwardness is one for sure, but that’s all a work in progress. Eventually Chewie will learn to walk with a march as well as a collected walk, and he’ll learn a park gait(jog), working trot, and road gait (extended trot). Right now I’m just working on getting him moving freely.
He is going around really well, and I think he looks great- especially when he puts his head down and works forward. We’re working on consitency with those actions, but everything is just 1 step at a time, really.Happily, he’s comfortable working, and hasn’t been a problem at all yet. I think, if I can get hubby to be my ground person coming up soon, I’d actually like to try Chewie through a cone course. I think it will give him something fun to think about.
Right now I’m just working on circles, turns, and figure 8’s and changes of direction, and trying to always instill in him that he must go forward. He’s doing great, and I think he’ll happily take on a challenge of a cone course. Plus, my husband can be the cone setter, so he’ll learn how to measure and set up a course, too. Teaching him a skill without him even knowing it. Hark!
The other day I had Chewie out of the arena, but I wasn’t in the cart, because I had to get out and get the gates, so I just handwalked him. So it was nice to be able to drive him out and take him for a very short walk around the driveway. We even made the “sharp turn” between the barns and he did great.
It was a good intro to doing things outside the arena while hitched, and I do like to do short intro sessions. He was driven in the driveway for about 1 minute and that was it. Then we went over to the grassy area and he had a self-given treat. Bad habit, I know, but Luke & Dixie know when they get to the grass, they stop and we get out and they get to eat while we unhitch. It works for us and Chewie will soon learn the same thing.
I can’t wait to get him out on the road for a drive, and as much as I’d love to get him out there now, I just don’t want to assume he’s ready. He’s been quiet and great and happy in the arena, but on the road, anything can happen, and it can get dangerous quickly. So I’m just going to wait until he’s at least 25 or 30 drives on the property before he hits the road. At that rate, it will be late September before we go out, and I’ll probably do it at 7am on a Sunday so there’s no traffic. Ok, maybe I’m being over cautious, but since I want Chewie to ultimately end up capable of doing marathons, I need him to be fully prepared for long works that will include a lot of road time.
Can’t wait to get him out there, though! And yes, I am somewhat proud <cough! cough!> that I was able to get him to this point basically by myself. I had some valuable help and some frustrating irritations along the way, but I just am really blessed that Chewie is the kind soul that he is. What a good boy.