Okay this is the video of Top, one of my students found it on YouTube. I am really curious as to how he fell so far, so fast. I watched the video again today, and really observed what was going on in it.
This is not to offend either of the riders in the video...except for whoever thought a gag bit with a shank (elevator bit?) was needed for this horse. Both riders have terrible hands. The first rider in the video comments how he is so light mouthed. Uh...honey that isn't light, that's self preservation. Compounded with the fact the you ride with puppy paws, which makes a far stronger, less forgiving hand bothers me. The second rider needs to quit levering her butt out of the saddle off the horse's mouth. I would put you both on lunge lines without reins to work on your seats. An independent seat doesn't just happen, you have to work for it. I'm still working on it, will be for life. It's a never ending process folks.
Neither rider is steady in their connection. So they are in and out, banging into his mouth. I'd rather see a little too strong, than this in and out. Either pitch him, or keep the connection. You say he's not 100% sure. How can he be? You aren't giving him a secure consistent place to go. He can't trust you, so he's looking for where he's supposed to be and you are rarely in the same place to meet him. That's what all the in and out, wiggle left, wiggle right, what the hell are you asking for is. And he looks off on his right hind. Why are you riding a horse that is off? Or is everything just so unsteady he looks off?
I took Laptop to a lesson with a trainer I haven't been to in a few years. I really enjoy this instructors teaching style, always have. I didn't realize it had been that long since I'd been to Carrie Harnden. I've already booked my next lesson.
I'll have to admit I was pretty nervous taking him, after only being on him twice. Once just sitting, the other riding. The second time riding I was in a large 250 x 300+ arena. Alone, nobody else up there. Okay, so not brilliant. He seemed a little tight, time bomb feeling at first. So I went to long and low, trying to get him to stretch down and relax. Well, something got him, his head popped up, and he started to scoot. Was like riding a giant inverted Arab. We went to a smaller pen after that. lol Oh, what bit am I riding him in? A loose ring french link. He's fine in it.
I'd messed up my ride time, so I was an hour and a half early. Which actually worked out really well. Top got out of the trailer, sweaty and white foam. Not such a great hauler I guess. After we arrived I pulled his blanket off, brushed him and we went for a walk. Just checking out the place, and what was going on. He snorted a little on the way down the hill to the indoor arena. Other than that, pretty casual boy. We watched the end of one lesson, and the beginning of the next. Between lessons, I took him over to graze. He thought this was a splendid place to roll. So he rolled all the way over twice, and wiggled and scrubbed his face in the grass. Happy, happy boy. We went back and watched more of the lesson. After 10 minutes or so, we head back up the hill to my trailer. I tie him up, and brush him again, and tack him up. I lead him down with my lunging equipment, and an extra bridle, and the (just in case) German Martingale.
Carrie tells me to bring him in and walk him around while the other lesson is finishing, so he can get used to the place. He's fine. Curious, but not worried. Taking in the sites. He likes Lazy L, a lot. I swear he had this attitude of, "Well about time. This is more like it." Big indoor arena, great footing, sane, pleasant laughing people...woohoo. lol
I'm a little nervous after the horror stories I've heard about this horse. Thinking I've gotten off easy with my inverted bolt across the arena. (He did shut right down from his bolt, but he held the time bomb feeling). I tell Carrie I'd like to start from scratch with lunging and progress from there. She's fine with that. Tells me to hook up the balancing reins like I usually do with him, and just proceed like normal. He's great. Walk, trot, canter both directions. Had nice tempo, good quality to the gaits. Only a couple yahoo canter transitions, but what the hey, I'm feeding the crap out of him.
Carrie says he' looks fine. I should get on. I'm hesitant. For 24hrs I've been working myself up to an anxiety attack on this deal. The girls I got him from had said the previous afternoon, "You're going to take him? Are you sure? You've only been on him twice. You better lunge the crap out of him before you go." Great, real confidence builder girls.
Carrie can see I'm not wanting to do this at all, let alone in front of an audience. She looks at me, cocks her head and asks, "What is going on? You ride hotter horses than this. You own hotter horses than this. Get on." I make my friend Teri walk down to the mounting block with me to hold him, and give me that added confidence. (If I didn't say it before....THANK YOU TERI). I get on. He's fine, tense but fine. We walk back to the other end of the arena. Carrie has me ride a diamond. After I finally figured out where the lines of the diamond were, we did pretty good (hey I'm the goober in a lesson one day that tried to serpentine M-X-K, for those of you not familiar with a dressage court, that's a straight line across the diagonal). The quieter and steadier you are, the better he his.
He was well liked at the lesson. The other ladies thought he was nice, and shouldn't be a problem. Somebody trained this horse. Somebody did do a nice job with him. It's just going to take some time to get his confidence back.
He's still about 150lbs underweight. I've put close to 100 on him. His feet are looking much better, two trims in now. He's had his teeth done and been wormed twice. Now, truly I think it's just groceries and time.