Saint Lawrence is the baby at Bits & Bytes Farm. We fell in love with his older brother Running Tall aka “Chewy” while he was at our farm in training. We almost bought his mom Great Game just to get another “Chewy”. We were lucky that Saint Lawrence’s breeder decided that he was going to be too big to be a race horse. His brother Running Tall had not distinguished himself at the track, so it was time for “Baby Chewy” to find a career that he would be better suited for. We brought Saint Lawrence home to Bits & Bytes Farm because everyone needs a baby to play with! It turns out his breeder made the right decision . . .
The Training Continues . . . Riding with other horses in the arena
Saint Lawrence has now been ridden about four times in the arena without a lunge line attached. He has learned to walk and trot and now he is learning to walk alongside other horses so that his mom can visit with her friends.
There are a lot of steps that go into training a young horse and if you skip one, it may show up later as a problem. We are working hard to keep things fun and interesting for our baby Saint Lawrence. His first thought, when riding up next to Bubba was to visit. He needed to learn that the one doing the visiting is his mom and not him! He learned to respect Bubba’s space – the dressage whip was a useful persuader. All it took was a tap on the nose to get back to business.
Saint Lawrence is also learning to pay attention to where his feet are by walking over poles – first just one pole and then two and then more. He already jumps logs used for erosion control in his pasture so walking and trotting over poles was no big deal. We also did the cross exercise where four poles are set up in an x and the horse learns to walk or trot over a pole, make a loop and trot over the next pole. This was tough with a green horse but a good way to teach him how to be steered. Saint Lawrence figured it our very quickly and then got bored so we ended the lesson before he started resisting. Young horses have a short attention span and, as with any horse, it is best to finish on a positive note and not a fight.
Saint Lawrence and his ‘pony horse’ Bubba.
Preparing for the First Ride
Our baby Saint Lawrence turned two on Derby Day – May 5th, 2012 and he is already 16.3 hands tall! Saint Lawrence has been the butt of NickerDoodles cartoons and he has earned all the tall tales about him.
We have been doing lots of ground training with Saint Lawrence since he arrived at Bits & Bytes Farm just shy of his first birthday last year. He has had an exercise saddle girthed up on him and he has been bridled. We have long-lined and lunged him and we have even put him through our Redneck Roundpen despooking obstacles. We have not yet ridden him.
Read the latest story about Saint Lawrence and see how we plan to get on this big boy when the time is right. Enjoy the photos. Saint Lawrence is extremely sensible and smart and he quickly learns whatever new lesson we show him.
See how we plan to get on this big boy. Click on the lower right icon to enlarge to full screen.
Learning to Long Line the First Step to Riding – August 21
Our baby is just 15 months old and he is already almost 16 hands at the withers and already 16.2+ at his butt. Saint Lawrence continues to have a wonderful inquisitive personality and he seems unflappable. He has already proven that he likes to jump – he jumped over the four foot gate out of the arena a month ago! Last week we started leading him out to pasture with a bridle with a Happy Mouth bit. Today he learned to long line. He accepted the lines and walked forward, turning and stopping on command. We finished with a short walk to trot to walk transition and quit on a positive note. I moved the mounting block over to the center of the arena and threw it around Saint Lawrence. Next I stomped on it to make lots of noise and then I hugged him and leaned my weight on his back. Saint Lawrence was calm throughout the entire lesson. The whole lesson was less than 15 minutes. He got lots of praise and we walked back to the barn on a loose rein.