Focus and Relaxation

I’ve had Pax just over a month now and it has been a really different experience. I didn’t set out to get a two-year-old – I would have preferred that he had been three going on four – but when I saw him, I got that feeling that he was the one. Age be damned. But not only is he two, for a thoroughbred, he’s a bit of a young two having been born in mid-May. And while I wouldn’t call him immature in the sense that he’s overly silly, you can tell he’s a baby and he mostly has the attention span of a gnat.

So all the ground work I am doing with him is imperative to teach Pax how to focus and how to relax.

The focus is coming along though we still have moments where he’ll forget and spook himself over a stationary object or the dogs that have been walking quietly beside us for the last ten minutes. Pax isn’t nasty about anything, he just doesn’t know how to handle himself yet. To date, he settles pretty quickly and forgets even quicker.

The relaxation though? That’s been more difficult. Now that Pax knows the basics of the groundwork we’re teaching him (how to send, how to turn his haunches, two eyes & two ears), we’re starting to use that to teach him to relax. In our lesson this week, LT had me wait to release the pressure until we saw at least a small sign of relaxation in his body. I had to see a lowered head, a cocked back foot, an exhale or sigh, something to show me that his mind was slowing down as much as his body was.

We’re still figuring each other out, and I can already tell that he will not be as easy as Gus has been, but I’m having a lot of fun learning right alongside.

Show Practice

The good news: I’m really glad that Eric convinced me to get out of bed and over to the barn for the local show. It was such a good experience for Dandy and I really needed to get back in the saddle. Dandy was definitely amped up with all the excitement and the other horses around, especially the other horses working with him in the field. But he wasn’t unmanageable.

 

It was pretty hot out and I still wasn’t 100% so I didn’t do much. Once he was standing still to let me on, and behaving in the field, Dandy got to be done. I didn’t get great collection though a lot of that is because I’m just not strong enough right now to push him through it so that’s something we’re really going to have to focus on this week.

Still, I was very happy with him. While Dandy did keep getting distracted, there was no panic or anxiety and I was able to get the focus back on me.

The bad news? Dandy seems to have developed an eye infection. Dang pony!