Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Where we left off (pre-cellulitis)

In the spirit of 2ptober:)
Before Scout's cellulitis we had really started ramping up the workload in lessons. His condition was looking quite good and he could handle much more mentally and physically. So, we'd generally start a lesson with some dressage (schooling the walk is so hard for a baby) gradually asking for a little more suppleness and work over his back. The name of the game being transitions, transitions, transitions.

Fighting the balance between being supple and maintaining the forward energy 
Using the halt as a forward transition, ask for a little give and then release

At the walk and again at the trot, we'd serpentine the arena in loops, changing direction and punctuating the gait with a downward transition for a few strides to really help Scout use his hind end and engage over his back.

The tail, always with that tail
In canter, we just work on getting him in front of my leg and keeping a constant pace. I have a little PTSD from Riley, in that I don't trust my crooked body to pick up the right lead on any horse, but Scout is helping me by demanding that I try to stay straight when I ask and keep his hind end from creeping in once we're going. And while we're talking about creeping... I have to work on staying tall in my body and allowing my leg to get long with my weight in my heels (something that is a real struggle due to my crappy ankles) so that I don't let my leg creep up rendering it ineffective. Amazing how that works?!

Moving on to a little jumping, we try to reinforce what Scout already knows about jumping (very little), namely forward, straight, canter away. My job is to steer, keep my leg on and encourage him to go forward away from the jump all while not impeding his effort. And at this point in his sophomoric education I expect him to make some mistakes and to question what we're asking. He's a baby after all... SO while it's easy for me to get lured into thinking he's going to do everything correctly the first time, I need to remember to be a little more defensive in my position and really be supportive.

Good boy Scout
 And this is what it looks like when things don't go exactly as planned:

Me: Figure it out Scout

Second time around
I've gotten better at waiting for the horse to figure out what they are doing while still being effective. I think a year ago, I'd be climbing up the horse's neck trying to "help". During this particular lesson, we were in pretty good synch with one another so we decided to add in some jumping outside the ring, like a little baby xc school.

And Scout, while not really sure what he should do with his legs, was very game!

Warming up over the tiny coop
Baby's first log!

Good boy Scout!

Had a little Oh Shit moment here when he touched down on the log with his toe

The tail! Stop jumping up his neck Niamh!
I couldn't have been happier with his attitude. Obviously, the jumps are small enough that minimal effort is required (though, these logs are bigger than they look in the photos) but he's gaining confidence carrying a rider over fences one jump at a time.

I love this feeling after a good jump! #datbooty
So, while the injury set us back a bit in terms of condition and training, I'm feeling really excited about what the future holds for us. We'll get back on track soon.


  1. You and I have the same training techniques for baby OTTBs :) Confidence is key, right?

  2. I'm sure scout thought long and hard during the cellulitis about the lessons he learned before, so you guys can start off on the right foot again :)

    1. Oh gosh I hope so! First lesson with a new trainer is tomorrow!