Olaf came to live with me in February of 2019. He was skinny and not looking his best back then. It is now July and he’s put on about 150 lbs, his coat has shed out to a beautiful champagne color, and he continues to be the sweetest horse in all the land.
I didn’t ride Olaf until June because he was so thin and I didn’t want him to burn extra calories by working. Once he started to round out a little, I started hopping on him for 5 or 10 minutes just to see what he knew under saddle. I’m riding him a couple times a week now, and it turns out he is a great trail horse. He’s so big, it’s like riding a couch.
He still has weight to gain, and he needs to put on some muscle as well. The best way to do that is by taking walks where he has a chance to stretch his neck, lift his back and push with his hindquarters. I only ride him for about 20 minutes on a loop around the barn, but even that small amount of exercise a couple times a week will help him build back his topline. I can tell that he’s getting stronger because he offers to trot, especially going up hills.
He is SO MUCH FUN to ride! He goes where you point him, enjoys group trail rides with other horses, and is relaxed enough to ride on a loose rein. It’s really different than riding my mule and my thoroughbred. Both of them are very agile and quick on their feet. Olaf is clunky, for lack of a better word. He’s so big he doesn’t turn on a dime like my other horses. He has a beautiful trot though! He is a big, fancy mover and that really surprised me since he isn’t particularly cat-like at the walk.
He’s fitting in really well with my family and my little herd. He was a “free to a good home” horse, and he’s turned out to be a real gem. I have always loved drafts, and he’s a dream come true for me.