Owen’s work under saddle with trainer Matt Olson is proceeding right on schedule…our curly boy is now walking, trotting, and cantering with a rider. If you’ve been following Owen’s story, you’ll know that we’ve all been a bit surprised at how well he’s done in his training…almost “too well” if you can believe that… 

So it’s actually been somewhat of a relief to us that Owen has started to make things a little more difficult for Matt in recent training sessions! Nothing too awful…but he’s definitely been asserting himself a little more in the process. For example, Matt’s finding that Owen will sometimes object to moving forward when asked, and there have been occasional days when Owen’s actually put up a bit of a fight. Matt feels that this is a sign that Owen is testing his boundaries and trying to take on a more dominant role in their relationship, which isn’t too surprising if you consider that this horse has spent the majority of his life as an unhandled stallion, and “boundaries” never played much of a role with him until he came to SAFE. Matt has worked through these recent issues by being firm but fair, keeping their sessions positive but definitely not allowing Owen to have the upper hand. The arena where they work is typically filled with jumps and poles and other obstacles, and Matt uses these things to his advantage, asking Owen to trot over ground poles or hop over small jumps when asked. It’s almost like playing a game with him…Owen will hesitate to trot forward…Matt will remind him, gently but firmly, that he must…Owen will comply and get rewarded, and everyone has fun. 

Matt started Owen in a halter and rode him that way for quite some time, but he’s been slowly introducing the snaffle bit, and Owen seems to be getting used to it pretty well. In the video below, you’ll see that Owen is a bit squirrelly from time to time, and he makes Matt work a lot harder to keep him moving as asked, but again, this is all so new to him, and he really does try hard for his rider:

Matt still does a lot of groundwork with Owen, and it’s pretty impressive what a good horse Owen is when worked in hand. Again, we play with the jumps in the arena a lot, and Owen will willingly jump these obstacles when “sent” over them. It’s pretty fun. 

He’s also getting super curly now that the cold weather is with us!