It's been a hell of a month to be honest, this is gonna be a long post. I have plugged away at the plan and have had some really interesting outcomes. Firstly the treatment for ulcers led to a much more relaxed horse. Still a goon to ride but heaps happier in the yards and paddock. Less flinchy and angry. So that was positive.
Under saddle the disputes are on going. He's lovely to flat school, but as soon as jumps come out he's a monster. You know how as you go through life you sort of develop rules you live by that suit yourself. And you're happy with those guidelines and ethically they work for you? Well China man has managed to destroy all of them. We have been on a reboot strategy and it started with one of my super solid never to be broken rules. Don't jump in draw reins.
It works. That's the pig of it. My trainer was like just try it because you're at a point of having nothing to lose. They are run up inside his martingale to prevent hooking a front leg and they are long. Just an outside boundary to help explain to him there's another way. He throws his head up and runs and as soon as he does that, mentally he's gone. And it's the same trick he pulled on the track. So basically he hits the draw reins when he throws his head and it's easier for him to just soften and not rush. I honestly both hated it and was terrified but it made a huge change in his ride ability and the. His jump improved because he was keeping his relaxation. It's nothing over two foot and it's only at home under trainer supervision (very strict!) and honestly if it works to create a new dialogue and makes it easier for him to get that there's an easier way then we will keep at it. I know it's probably a bit of a shortcut but it really made a huge difference. Instead of fighting me he's fighting himself more.
That monstrous looking contraption is a mikmar combination bit. It goes against my other rules of using simple bits (preferably snaffles) until competing at higher levels that require more finesse. This is his current show bridle and he can't work it out. It spreads the contact to different parts of his face and to be honest the second rein which is on the rope is mostly very very lose. I jumped him in the 90cm at foxton in it and he was like a very different very rideable horse. Though I literally can't use any leg on him in front of a fence and just sit there quiet as a little mouse. But he stayed soft and rideable and that in itself was an absolute miracle on the back of the rounds we have been having. It's not forever, it's just for now to help reset him.
But then because all of the blog horses get injured he managed to get tangled in his rope the morning of a show and threw himself not once but twice. So now he's a very sore hip and stifle China missing all the lovely local shows. Oh horse. Mentally he takes a huge toll out of me. Though someone told me all the Chinese Dragon offspring should just be shot so at least he's better than that. He's coming right with rest. It's just we were finally making great progress and then splut here we are. If I really pushed he probably would have been ok for this weekend but it's not worth it. I have time he's only six. It was definitely huge to have him so rideable at a show and have him turn up and play the game. Horses.
It's still paradise on a warm Spring evening.