The Many Faces of A Baby Thoroughbred
For anyone who has restarted an ottb in dressage, you would be familiar with the many faces of an opinionated young thoroughbred learning about contact.
Honestly, to some degree, you just have to laugh while your horse makes faces... lots of faces. All of them awkward.
While some horses are very comfortable from the first minute moving into contact, many others rebel against the idea they are expected to hold the bit at all time. Those who rebel can often be quite, ahem, expressive about it.
Of course, as a rider, you simply have to sit quiet and wait things out.
It takes a lot of concentration to keep the rein pressure neutral but present and welcoming, and to keep the horse moving forward into your accepting hand.
This stage of training can feel like it lasts literally forever. Thankfully, experience tells me that this too shall pass.
The important thing is to not get discouraged, stay loose and mentally present, don't get aggressive, and keep going forward. While it might take days, or even weeks to months (especially if you're Pig and very set in your ways), the end result is worth the time investment.
For anyone else out there working on teaching their reluctant and stubborn baby horse about accepting contact, I hope you can take some heart in these photos. We all go through the awkward phase sometimes. Not all training is pretty from day one. Stick with it, and stay patient.
... and don't forget to keep laughing!
|"QUIT LAUGHING AT ME!"|
|"PLEASE SEND HELP!"|
|"COME ON MAN! I'M LITERALLY SNARLING HERE!"|
|"NOT ACCEPTING ENOUGH!"|
|"AIN'T NOTHIN PASSING BETWEEN THESE CLENCHED JAWS, LADY"|
|"YOU'RE WILLING TO DO THIS FOR A MONTH?!?!"|
|"IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?!"|