Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More on Baybuilt

Wow. I left you guys hanging for quite awhile didn't I? Let's see if I can't catch you up.
Baybuilt came off the trailer hesitant, but uneventfully. I settled him in a quarantine stall at the farm, and set about getting to know him.

Buying after seeing him in a stall and watching a brief video of his movement suddenly seemed like the most ridiculous of decisions. His young and narrow 15.3 frame threw me off. Had I made a mistake? Was this a complete miss?
Baby horse is not very large.
Then I turned him out in the round pen, and all my fears were assuaged. The moment he began moving, I was in love again. He had confidence in his own body, and a freedom in his back I adored. Still, I was hesitant to start working with him seriously. Suddenly I was suffering from a terrible case of imposter syndrome. Would I ruin him? Would I make mistakes that would set us back?

I steeled myself and set about lunging him. His breeder had told me a little about his training, and she didn't think he'd been lunged much (if at all) before. With that in mind, I was floored by how well he took to the endeavor. In one day he picked up my verbal commands. On day two he learned he couldn't fall in on the circle. By day three lunging was old news.

I was learning, too. Baybuilt was smart.
The smartest baby racehorse.
Photo by Liz
Quickly I realized that two short working sessions were more productive than long drawn out training periods. Baybuilt's baby brain tired quickly with too much thinking work. However, he learned so fast that whatever was picked up in the morning session was ready to be built upon by the afternoon.
That movement, though. Even still race-tight he's nice.
Photo by Liz
Getting on seemed like an easy enough step, but I wanted the right person there to help me out… Jan. I was so happy her Loch Moy show would have her around just in time for me to hop on the baby racehorse. Jan is the coolest customer around when it comes to horse shenanigans. She's quiet, yet confident, during misbehavior. I knew if anything went awry with riding, she'd be right there helping smooth things over without adding drama. Plus, Jan is just so much fun to hang out with.

Of course Jan quickly agreed to help me get on Baybuilt. I think we were both super excited to see him go under saddle!
World's least eventful baby thoroughbred first ride.
Having hopped on a few horses fresh off the track, I was taking no chances. I had Jan hook a lunge line to a rope halter threaded under Baybuilt's bridle, and told her to lead him off the moment I got on. I expected to need her to walk me around the ring a time or two to accustom him to the idea, but he was so chill that I ended up having her un-clip relatively quickly!

While we just walked and trotted, I could tell this little guy was tuned in and listening. He seemed to be listening to my seat already, and quick off the aids. I noted a couple of problem areas (mostly some gate sour tendencies and and inability to come to a complete halt, both of which are extremely common in horses right off the track), but was very impressed with him.
Happy faces on the first ride!
Over the next few days, Jan helped me get comfortable on Baybuilt's back. We were out there twice a day riding him. Just like with the lunging, I tried to keep our rides very short. I didn't want him to be sour, or push past his attention span.
Little horse builds a lot of muscle!
Though he's 5, Baybuilt seems much younger. His mind is quite babyish, and I think that may have led to some training issues on the racetrack. I'm hoping to avoid making too many mistakes by respecting his youth and taking things pretty slowly. He's a good boy who wants to please, and I'd like to keep building on that!

By the time Jan left on Monday afternoon, I had ridden Baybuilt 6 times, worked through his walk/trot/canter cues, gone on a short hack on the property, and we had fitted all my tack to him. I can't thank Jan enough for helping get me set up to jump right to work with this precious little guy all by myself!
Watch out world! Wild baby racehorse coming through!

34 comments:

  1. I love him! I'm SO glad it is going well and uneventfully! #teambay

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    1. Haha! He might make me like bay horses after all. LOL

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  2. I was wondering how it was going. That last photo says it all!

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  3. So glad it's going well! He looks like a good one.

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  4. Yay for a brilliant baby horse! He's so cute and I'm glad you're having so much fun with him ☺️

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  5. I'm so glad I could be there for you! <3 he's such a cool dude!

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  6. so glad he is working out. I kept checking your blog to get posts but since I stalk (I mean follow) you on Instagram I knew he was doing well. he is really really cute. And looks like such a good brain! Good pick!! Enjoy!

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    1. Instagram is certainly where the more active updates are...

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  7. He's so adorable and you can't go wrong with a great brain like that! Can't wait to keep hearing more of your adventures!

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    1. He's definitely going to be a fun one to retrain!

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  8. What a perfect way to start a new relationship! My start with my new OTTB was not nearly this kind and understanding, and I am trying to make that up to her now. Can't wait to hear more about this super cool guy :)

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    1. I think we all have to go through those periods so we can learn! Pig was a genius at teaching me patience.

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  9. He sounds like a cool customer. :-) Glad you found him.

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  10. The smart ones are so fun! He's gorgeous, BTW <3

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  11. I was waiting to hear an update on this cool guy! Glad things are going well

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  12. He is already a beefcake- but I can't wait to see what he looks like as he become a proper dressage horse! I hope you do lots of Before/After pics!

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  13. I love him! He looks so good in all your tack! Baby brains are so fun and interesting to work with. Knowing their time limit is crucial!

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  14. Sounds like a great partnership is starting to blossom!

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  15. He is so gorgeous! Typically thoroughbreds aren't my jam but he is absolutely amazing and I can't wait to see what you guys do together :)

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  16. Thoroughbreds are just the best! Going to be a fun future with him.

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