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Milo Chronicles: P.5

Installment No. 5 of my adventures with Scar Face Tony (aka Milo) 2018 OTTB Gelding, on his foray into Eventing.

Milo and Carter have been welcomed to Blue Clover Eventing in Maryland with open...gates? The boys are enjoying the fresh Spring grass and much nicer weather than Ohio has to offer at this time of year! I did get Milo loaded on the trailer the day before we left for Maryland, he was a champ, and has been one each time since. He takes a few minutes to inspect the ramp and the trailer, check out the rump of whoever loaded before him, and decides to walk on in. He was adorable on the long trip, settling in and looking at me with contentment about his new hangout each time I checked on them. Training a horse that has trouble with loading and/or trailering is a very difficult task, and I'm relieved that it's not on my plate for the time being *whew*.

Milo turned 4 on April 29 and has been deemed by me as ready to do stuff, so we have been doing big boy things since arrival at BCE. This is a little difficult for me --I just like to take things slow, OKAY?!-- He has been stepping up willingly and generally wants to do the right thing, and there's no good reason for me to hold him back and baby him. Teaching new habits and skills doesn't have to be a slow, arduous process, fraught with emotion and anthropomorphizing! It does require consistency and patience, and an objective point of view. While there are things to work on continuously - like picking up his other front foot (no matter which side I start on, it's ALWAYS the other one!), it was really easy to teach him to back up from the stall door so I have room to come in. It was also surprisingly easy to get him lunging in side reins, which for some reason I thought would be torturous for him, my poor baby horse having to work so hard! I already taught him to go in the Pessoa rig, like that's easy. And guess what, the side rein work totally transfers to under saddle work, who knew?! Okay, but sometimes it's hard to be the trainer and the owner of the baby horse.

In addition to the side reins and the trailering, Milo also went to a horse show! We accompanied a new friend to a USDF show at Loch Moy where he hung around quietly at the trailer, and a little less quietly, but acceptable nonetheless at the warm-up ring while I coached. He communicated some discomfort by moving his feet instead of standing quietly, and calling out occasionally for reassurance from friends who weren't there. He did settle pretty easily, especially at the trailer, and he wasn't spooked or excited by anything - not the flapping banners, horses and trailers going everywhere, loudspeakers, or porta potties. I'm happy to report that he wasn't that horse who screams incessantly and tears the trailer apart, distracting all the competitors and earning his owner scowls of disapproval. Since I've definitely been the owner of one of those horses, I'm relieved to be saved from the embarrassment it causes me. Please excuse me while I knock on all the wood.

Here's what we're working on:

  • Standing INSIDE the grooming/wash stall, not halfway out the front

  • Lunging and riding without the rope halter - just the Nathe bit, like a real horse!

  • Balance and building strength on the lunge line, especially to the left

  • Rhythm and Relaxation on the lunge and under saddle

So, as you can easily see, we are well on our way to being ready for the RRP TB Makeover in October. We have successfully done all the things a horse that is going to compete in the Rolex arena should be able to do. HAH! Well, we have started doing things anyway.


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