Scout has settled in beautifully at his new farm that is THREE miles from my new house. Having him so close feels like such a luxury and I'm feeling quite spoiled about just being able to pop down to see him even if just for a few minutes. It's also taken a lot of pressure over what we do each ride so his life feels more varied and less stressful in my opinion.
|You could say he likes his new farm just a little bit:)|
And with all horse planning, I've been cautiously optimistic because literally anytime I set money aside for any sort of training/showing purposes the shit hits the fan (I'm looking at you NYE emergency vet call). So naturally just as I reach out to an UL rider for training my truck's transmission starts slipping. But this is not a post about that.
|Getting the basics solidified|
When we had our short stint over in South Jersey he was being ridden fairly regularly by a wonderful event trainer who gave me some serious words of wisdom after she jumped him the first time. She said, "Don't get greedy... he's nice, he's got the brain and the athleticism, but it would be easy to do too much too quickly, go slow." And you know what, it really struck a chord in me.
So here we are after a winter of intentional and not-so-intentional slow going. Lots of tiny legos being pieced together to build him up to where he needs to be to tackle the next step. Lots of long walk warm ups, lots of doing 100 transitions per ride, you know, boring stuff. So when it came to getting him going over fences in earnest, I decided it would be well worth my money to invest in some training rides with a professional who primarily works with young TBs. I want him to feel confident and comfortable and to be rateable and bold.
I took him over to a big fancy indoor for a test ride to see how they paired up and she just LOVED him. She walked him around under saddle so he could check everything out (including himself in the mirrors) and warmed him up on the flat. She figured out his asymmetry pretty quickly and worked to block his un-eveness at the walk which helped him stay straight and balanced in the trot and canter. It's these types of nuanced fixes that make me feel like my money is being well spent. I get to see how someone more skilled that me can zero in on little things and figure out the best way to unlock him. She trotted him over a little vertical once or twice and quickly moved onto to cantering everything. Keep in mind, he's jumped maybe 4 times under saddle before this!
|Cantering the vertical the first time:)|
I want jumping to be fun for him and for it to all feel easy.
|Weeeee! First square oxer!|
|This ended up as a wide X in the end|
|Scary waves are NBD|
When we finished up, she concluded that she was dying to do more with him because he's just so KEEN, and yes... she'd take us on as clients:)
A week later (truck fixed with rebuilt transmission) I took him to the barn that she primarily trains out of for a follow up session. He unloaded, took a look around and I tacked him up for her. She got right down to business warming him up for 10-15 minutes at the walk getting him to keep his hind quarters aligned and to keep the contact and throughness in his upward transitions. She really got him stepping under himself so nicely, which paid off in the canter work. She started this time by cantering him over a cavaletti in both directions while holding him accountable for a good canter.
He did try to go around the cavaletti once when he got there with a bit of a bad canter, but man if she didn't hold the outside aids and he STILL jumped.
Again, she let him look at all fill on the jumps and touch the barrel with his nose, but then she just jumped him around like he's been doing it forever. What was really cool was seeing he rebalance him after the jumps, if he got a bit too keen she'd make a adjustment and then leave him alone, sort of an exaggerated half halt and he'd come right back into balance.
|just SO cute|
What I am learning is that my horse is bold and keen, he wants to get to the other side. He doesn't really know what he's doing which is why I have utilized the help of a pro to get him feeling like a superstar over fences. I want him to jump out of balance, and even though she makes him look super easy, I know that my greenness would not help him at this stage in his training. She'll continue to jump him at a higher level then me for awhile so that the whole thing just becomes quite boring for him.
But seeing him go with a pro on board makes me VERY excited about the future. My goals are quite modest and I know that if I can get him happy, sound and comfortable mentally, I'll be well on my way to achieving them. Better yet, I'm able to get real time feedback about where he's at in his training. Where the holes are and the types of things I should work on during my rides with him.
|I want him to feel this confident every time he jumps:)|