The last 4 months have been spent backing Wolfie. In some ways, he is so simply straightforward, you wouldn't think he was only 3 years old. In other ways though, he is very complex. He has an opinion on just about everything and will voice it at every opportunity.
I backed Wolfie by doing a lot of groundwork using the Monty Roberts Dually halter and a lot of long reining. Getting on for the first time was no problem, as I expected. However, with me now being on his back, he no longer had his 'rock' on the ground and that proved to be a bit of a stumbling block for him and a knock to his confidence.
As I had no willing victim to sit on him whilst I was on the ground, we had to persevere. I have backed youngsters in the past and worked with and ridden many, but Wolfie has been a challenge. He is so bright and the whole process has been like a game of chess with me lying awake at night trying to think what my next move is going to be. He is very independent to the point that he will not even bother following a lead horse, even when he is out of his comfort zone. The last few months have been an incredible journey for both of us. There have been moments when it has been emotionally, physically and mentally draining as he has challenged and tested me at nearly every turn. But we have got there.
The hours spent long reining up and down hills, basically the groundwork, has been the foundations and preparations for the riding. Wolfie is going really well at the moment and is proving himself already to be a lovely riding horse. Although he only stands at approx 15.1hh, he has the stride length of a much bigger horse. He carries himself in a natural outline with three naturally elevated paces; with a particularly stunning and flamboyant trot. I really only concentrate on transitions and getting him going forward in straight lines at the moment, although he has shown that lateral movements come naturally and easily to him.
I have been hacking along the tracks behind the stables, he is used to this whole area as this is where I long rein him. The local farmer has given me permisision to ride through one of his fields to enable me to get Wolfie down onto a great hacking track without having to ride along the road. On Sunday I decided to brave it. Normally taking any young horse out I would always go with another horse, but as it makes no difference to Wolfie whatsoever, I decided just to head out on our own. We had the most amazing time. It's a great track in that you can see anyone or anything coming towards you and it's good ground. We had a few nice trots and a short canter. Wolfie was brilliant. He was so soft and responsive and felt as though he was enjoying every minute as much as I was. This was a huge achievement for us as we've been a bit restricted up until now where we can go, but this opens up a whole new world for us. Hacking home I couldn't stop smiling. People passing must have thought some village had lost its idiot.