Jan. 13, 2012, 06:10 PM
An adult student of mine, who only gets to take lessons occasionally, got a very cute 4 yr old TB gelding last year, altho he never actually started in a race, he had just had track training, so basically knew very little that would be of use for his intended career of low level eventing. His owner, altho having ridden all her life, had never evented or done any dressage. She has done a few intro tests, CT's and cross country schooling, but the horse has just kinda been "all over the place", not understanding the meaning of moving off the leg and basically could be the poster child for ADHD horses! Last weekend she brought him for a lesson, I was a bit tied up with the vet, so she got on to warmup and he was just being his usual self, spooking, running thru shoulder and hip, paying attention to everything but his work etc. I worked with her about 10 minutes and then got on him (second time I had ever ridden him). After riding him a bit I suggested again (we had had this disucssion last fall), that she leave him with me for a month. She has no areana, keeps him at home and works full time, so basically she can only ride him on weekends. She really wants to compete this spring, but he jsut isn't there, he goes over jumps, but its pretty haphazard at this point. So she decided to leave him. I spent the next day just doing ground work, teaching him to focus on me, not to be afraid of the lunge whip (desensitized him) and teaching him how to move different parts of his body in response to my body language. He responded immediately, what he has been craving was someone to give him direction, as he is basically a big, insecure young horse. He was SO FOCUSED on me, the entire time and just relaxed and was happy. Did antoher ground work session during the week and also rode him, mostly walking teaching him how to move his shoulder, hip in response to my leg and seat, and teaching him to let me put his feet anywhere I wanted. Even when it was "uncomfortable" for him (i.e. stepping over a pole on ground and then stopping and standing with front feet on one side and backk feet on the other) he learned to trust me. When she got on to take him for a hack she was amazed at how well he was responding to her leg. Today was really a great session, another light groundwork/lunging session and then riding, more trotwork etc. It was COLD and WINDY and he was really focused. No spooking (except one time on lunge when another horse in the field took off) amd was really trying hard to understand the things I was asking. It's just such a lovely feeling to get thru to a horse like this, he is very smart but just wants his human to set boundaries for him and show him the direction and he goes there happily, willingly and relaxed! Gotta love these days, but boy do I have a lovely case of windburn!