|and officially 7 months since charlie retired from racing. portrait by Alyssa Kelley|
|his first bath at the adoption facility. look at that sweet face tho!|
|"pretty sure i might be certifiable, but i'm going for it!" - euphoric emma, about to bring the big guy home|
Since the first six months to a year with an OTTB tend to be the most transformative, I thought today's post could take a broad inventory of where Charlie is in his education today and how I see each of these areas continuing to develop.
Things Charlie can do:
General Citizenship and Well-being:
Stands tied / cross tied quietly
Bathes / clips / vacuums no problem
|first ride post-track!|
Gets along with other horses in turnout
Appears to have graduated from a 4wk shoeing cycle!!
Has grown more and more sound over time
|first steel shoes. happy to say his foot has changed dramatically since this picture|
Continue refining diet to meet nutritional needs and build weight
Stay on top of hoof care
Has learned some basics re: yielding specific quarters to pressure
Can sorta lunge, more or less
Is the best at carrot stretches
Reliably trailers individually or with another horse, and basically self loads
Travels well and can go to work in new and unfamiliar settings
|graduated out of the stud chain within about a week or so of coming home #safetyfirst|
More. Always more.
Attend bomb proofing and/or trail/obstacle challenge type clinics??
|first ground work session|
Can w-t-c with steady rhythm on a 20m circle in both directions
Learning the basics of contact and connection
|almost looking like he fits in at the dressage barn!|
Undefeated International Champion Of The World at USDF Intro B
Keep on keepin' on
Transitions within trot: compress + ride forward, rinse + repeat forever
Continue working on control of shoulders (esp for steering and straightness)
|i can't take credit for teaching him to pose tho. #bornthatway|
Can w-t-c through open fields on uneven terrain
Has been introduced to small banks and water elements
Jumped xc-style fences in an arena
Can navigate natural trail obstacles (logs and such)
Is generally an all-round trail riding dream boat
Can lead or follow other horses, and can leave group and return without drama
|tho sometimes perhaps he wishes he could leave *this* horse behind haha|
Actually school xc
MOAR TRAIL RIDING!!!! :D
....Eventually gallop. Eventually. *gulp*
|all trail riding, all the time plz|
Is basically the best at
|not the first, but a very early cross rail effort|
Reliably jumps stadium fences of all styles up to ~2'3 from trot or canter
|first jump lesson + first oxer!|
Can jump from and land on both canter leads, and can change leads over a fence
Work on straightness (line of travel is sacred!)
Build towards coursework (increase focus on rebalancing before corners)
|same oxer as before, just three months later|
Some things are going a little slower than they could, or than they would with a different rider. But that's cool bc let's be real: I'm trying to keep up and get my own sea legs back in this process too. And as Tracy reminded me a while back: Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. I'll take it!
And for my purposes, it feels like the relevant landmarks and milestones are cropping up about how I expected (while acknowledging my own limited experience haha). I can't wait to see what the next six months bring!!
Do you have any sort of 'milestones' that you use to gauge your horse's training level? Or like... prerequisites or skill proficiencies that you look for to ensure your horse is on track? If you've worked on restarting horses before, do you keep a general order or agenda for how you introduce new things, or do you kinda wing it based on how the horse responds?