Louie moved to his new stable yesterday, and is settling in very well.
We had our first ride today and Louie felt great. We rode in our all purpose saddle, and he felt like he was moving really nicely and was relaxed but energetic. We got some awesome neck stretches at the trot; I don't think I've ever seen him relax his neck down at the trot like this before, with this much regularity.
The footing in the arena is awesome, I could tell within the first few steps at the trot, as they felt springy and powerful. Louie felt very balanced and controlled at the canter, and we were even able to practice some "lengthenings" (I put it in quotes as it's not really a true lengthening, but the closest we've come to it so far) at all gaits, and some lateral work at the walk.
The only thing that was a bit of a challenge for us was the tack-up area, and not because it isn't an awesome set up- it really is (and it's heated, so that's a huge plus in the winter!). It's a wide walkway with 3 double size tie stalls on one side, where there are cross ties for the horses, used for grooming and tacking. The challenge was backing into them. I suppose walking backwards into an enclosed space that you've never been in before is a bit of a high expectation for Louie's first time in the tack-up area. It took a minute, but he eventually backed in and stood in the cross ties very nicely while we groomed and tacked up. It will just take some repetition for him to master it, I'm sure.
We've got our first lesson scheduled for Thursday; I'm super excited! I'm also a little nervous for it, though, as being new to the stable and the routine, I can't help but worry that we'll stick out like a sore thumb, out of condition, and in need of a lot of work. . . well, as far as sticking out like a sore thumb, that might happen anyhow because I'm pretty sure Louie is the only Saddlebred at the stable. But hopefully we'll stick out like a pretty painted fingernail instead of a sore thumb, as I liken Saddlebreds closer to that analogy.
So far, so good. Louie was turned out today in a big grass pasture with his 3 new pasturemates, and I hear it went well. For the next few days though, he'll mostly be hanging out in his dry lot by himself until everyone gets adjusted. He looks pretty happy to me!