I had my first lesson since Baron got adjusted and what a difference it made!!! It was like riding a different horse. Not once did he raise his head and hollow out his back (even before we rigged up the martingale!). His walk and trot were even and he kept a slow, steady pace with a lot less nagging from me. We also worked him for the first time in a martingale. I admit, I was skeptical. I’m not one for gimmicks, and I tend to think that gadgets are the easy way out for people too lazy or hurried to train their horses properly. In this case, I was wrong. The martingale didn’t force his head down unnaturally or at too severe an angle, but it did encourage him to lower his head and show him that a lowered head can be comfortable. By the end of the lesson he was relaxed and compliant, moving easily off my leg and paying attention to my aids. It was such a great feeling to be riding my very own, well behaved horse!
I do think we would be progressing a lot faster if I were more experienced. I read Success Stories about OTTB’s over on the Bits and Bytes Farm website (see my links) and some of those people have their ex-racers at shows within just a few months. These people have been showing and training horses for years though, and I’m just starting out with my first. And I am not a trainer! I told my trainer, whom I love, that all of my childhood fantasies will have been fulfilled when I am able to show my horse at a local schooling show. I’m not trying to go to the Rolex; I just want to have fun with my horse!
Also, I would really like to be able to trail ride with Baron. He is so spooky on the trails because the whole experience is new to him. I look forward to the time when I can take him out with one other horse and trust that he won’t bolt back to the barn. This will come with time as we trail ride more and more. Like Clinton Anderson says, the more time and work you put into your horse, the better he’ll be.