Sunday, November 23, 2008

Specifics from yesterday

I thought it might be helpful to describe some of Bar's behavior from yesterday because in my experiences with him and in my research into retraining OTTB's, his behavior is pretty typical.

In the arena, he was bolting and rearing--though to his credit, he was not bucking. Steve mostly succeeded in getting and keeping his attention, but again, we decided it was not conducive to Peter giving a good lesson.

Once we got out to the driveway, even with Lena in plain sight, he was dancing and rearing, and at the same time, refusing to go forward--whichever direction Steve pointed him. That is odd behavior for him as he generally dances, but dances forward to get out on the road and have some non-arena time.

As I said, we don't really have any answers. I have some theories about contributing factors--the lesson worried him, we didn't do our normal routine in the round pen, different rider, the perfect cool weather, and a sick horse in the front pasture--but he was far past even his normal obstinate behavior. Whatever the reason for his wackiness, my plan remains the same. Go back to some basics with him, and work him on the ground and in the saddle more consistently. Even if I don't ride him very long, it'll be important to do something with him every day. I also intend to check him for any physical things, but Steve says I may just be looking for excuses that don't exist. (I'm still looking, though.)

Oddly enough, prior to heading to the barn, I bought the book you see on New Vocations Racehorse Adoption's site. It's actually been helpful--the pictures in particular--and gives pretty practical advice, plus some inspirational success stories at the end.

The one theme that kept popping up in the book is "patience." I think some days it will take a little more patience than others, but I have a lot of hope. Not to mention a fair dose of stubbornness in my own personality.

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