Owen’s been in training with Matt Olson for just over three weeks, and the progress he is making is fantastic. I had the pleasure of watching one of their training sessions yesterday, and I am so impressed with what Matt’s been able to do with him. They are still doing ground work in preparation for starting Owen under saddle — Matt says Owen will tell him when he’s ready — and Owen is proving to be a very quick study! He retains what he’s taught from one day to the next, and he is showing more signs of wanting to please. Matt’s working on things like “sending” Owen forward over obstacles or poles; respecting space and moving off of pressure; picking up all four feet for the farrier; and desensitization to all sorts of things. He’s also doing liberty work with Owen, as you’ll see in this video clip:

Yesterday during Owen’s session with Matt, the head trainer at Sandamar Farm had a jump chute set up for her horses in training, and I couldn’t resist asking if Owen could give it a try. Matt said it would be okay, so we gave Owen a very short go at free jumping! His first time through he hopped over the cross rail and stopped in front of the oxer, but with mild encouragement, he jumped the oxen too. Here’s his second time through:

Is he a cute jumper, or what?

Owen is doing just terrific. He’s a very smart and thoughtful horse, and even when something scares him, he’s willing to investigate the scary object and quickly convince himself there is nothing to fear. He’s become very easy for Matt and I to catch; in fact, I was a tiny bit worried when we turned him loose in the big arena to free jump, but he let me walk right up to him after he finished the run in the video posted above. Matt is often heard to remark “A lot of horses would not like that!” when he’s desensitizing Owen, but I just smile and say “I told you he was special.” Couldn’t be prouder of our Curly boy!