Milo Chronicles: P3
Installment No. 3 of my adventures with Scar Face Tony (2018 OTTB Gelding) on his foray into eventing.
Milo continues to be a good egg, he's really easy going, learns pretty quickly and is fun to work with. He plays pretty hard with his new friends in turnout and has gained a couple very attractive bumps on his forehead, and spent a few days on stall rest with a sore hind end from what we can assume was a kick in the bum. Training hasn't been derailed too much though, since we're taking it easy anyway.
He graduated from long lining, mostly due to boredom, and has been going well under saddle for several weeks now. All the ground work paid off right away; he is walking and trotting over poles, picking up canter easily on both leads and offering swaps when he gets it wrong - all pretty much from voice commands. Our first "ride" was a very short lesson in standing at the mounting block before walking off, which he did perfectly well (hence why it was short), then lots of pats and the end! I'm always trying to reinforce that working with me is a fun thing, so we do a new hard thing, then finish up pretty quick. This way of doing things has been really beneficial, and also dang easy so far because Milo is smart and laid back, so he picks up on what I'm asking and just does the thing.
I have been keeping the work schedule to just a few days per week, and alternating between riding and lunging. He's still going in the full cheek Mullen mouth nathe bit, and usually with the rope halter over that on a different rein. I want to keep his mouth soft, so any real use of the rein aid is done more on the rope halter than the bit. Our rides are simple at this point, I want him to go where I point him, move off my leg, and maintain a good rhythm in each gait. Steering has gotten much better as he's learning to go between my legs instead of just follow his nose. He doesn't mind leg pressure and isn't a hot horse, so I can keep my leg against him without encouraging outbursts. The rhythm is coming along as he learns to respond to a bit of a half halt on the rein and in my upper body. On lunging days, I use the Pessoa lunging system (the one with the bungees) to help teach him to yield forward and down to the bit pressure, and to build his topline.
What we've done so far:
Stand for mounting
Upward and downward transitions w/t/c/halt
Walk and trot over poles, raised poles, small fillers and small x's indoors and out
(left) Learning that other horses can do stuff in the arena too, and it has nothing to do with you.
(above) November update