Ok. With full confidence in my training program and instincts it was time to get this party started.
Each of Baz’s sessions commenced with at least ten minutes of work in hand, in this way I could put him under graduated pressure, ask him to compress and then reach, halt calmly, work in a deeper frame, rein back and reward him for every incremental improvement in his attention and obedience, it was a great way to re enforce our relationship and his trust in the fact that there was an answer to every question that I asked, I wouldn’t ask him to do something he couldn’t do.
He had awesome focus, if only this had been done when he was broken in what an amazing horse he would have been.
The next part of Baz’s workout was to work on the lunge, increase and then decrees the size of the circle asking for more then less engagement of his hind quarters, transitions, walk to trot, trot to walk, trot to halt, halt to trot. Keeping him mentally and physically with me. Canter transitions on the lunge had become fairly good by this time, consolidating the voice command was of the utmost importance as this would give him a Cue which he understood, to be coordinated with the physical aid for the canter transition which at this point he didn’t understand. They would gradually join and become part of the same aid.
Under saddle, some bending and flexing consolidating his understanding of, and desire to reach for, the outside rein more trust that I wouldn’t smack him in the mouth. Walk trot transitions, at this stage he didn’t have a great understanding of lengthening his trot, if I asked to lengthen the trot too much he would threaten to jump into canter, if I felt he would cope with it I would have let him go, but I knew he needed more support and guidance than this.
Now that the preparation is complete here we go, I expect this to work, I’ve done everything right. A steady rhythmic trot, good contact and attention. Reduce the size of the circle, not more than he can cope with easily, I don’t want to loose the tempo and rhythm, leg yield out at my speed, not falling but moving forward sideways at my rate this is done on the incorrect diagonal, it makes him step under himself that much further with the inside hind leg toward the outside rein contact. I need to be able to release that inside rein and still have him maintain the bend, flexion and forward I have set up, as well as the connection between the inside leg and the outside rein. I know If I push the trot gently, ask him to extend a little, he will be inclined to canter, I need to co ordinate the voice aid, “canter up!” With the leg aids and the increase in lengthening, in this way I am giving him a number of cue’s for the same thing. One more important Cue for an ex racehorse at this stage is for the rider to take a light seat, most won’t cope with deep sitting at this point and the movement forward to the light 2 point seat is similar to that made by a jockey when he wants the horse to move forward out of trot when on the track. All this on Baz’s better direction, set him up for success not failure.
Pop! away he went calmly and controlled I could feel some enthusiasm bubbling underneath but if I stayed calm so would he, half a lap, gentle voice command ” aaand trot ” done! Mission accomplished, call this a win and a big step forward.
The next several rides were exactly the same, gradually working to the more difficult side, never asking for too long, ensuring it was my decision to come back to trot while things were going well, always walking away when I felt like I wanted to do some more. If I walked away thinking I had gone too far it would be a very negative experience for me and Baz.
How rewarding, knowing where he had come from, I only wish I had some footage of the first few dangerous out of control rides, no one will ever understand what this fantastic horse had achieved, I couldn’t be more proud of him and more satisfied with my commitment. I could feel a real bond forming with Baz, I really liked him and I could see that he trusted me, I could actually keep this one, we would be great for each other. But the job was to find him a home and hopefully. He was now ready to move on.
end of part 9