Since November, 2017, we’ve been in our second year — which has turned out to be a year of a brand new horse. The true Bizzy is beginning to emerge. Though last year at this time Lauren was jumping her – and I was trotting to crossrails and cantering away — we’re back to flat work for the moment. We went through a period of lameness over the summer and into the fall, and got that sorted out. (A slightly clubby foot – managed with injections and an excellent farrier and she’s back in (just) business.)
When she came back from that she was stronger. She’d built muscle over the summer. Her foot didn’t hurt. She’d been eating and enjoying her paddock and the other horses for months. And now — last November — she was ready to get going with that new body!
She expressed it through broncing on the lunge line, just jumping up and down while staying on a circle – which is a perfect expression of her youth and strength combined with her desire to be a good girl and do what we are asking. Then she expressed it with Lauren on her back, sailing four feet up and all four hooves off the ground when asked to canter to the right.
Was she lame again? Did something hurt? That was all I could think of. But Lauren thought about it and thought about it and sorted it out. It was the contact when being asked to canter. We know that contact on a thoroughbred means go; the jockeys keep a tight contact to ask for a gallop. Bizzy didn’t like going to the right (again like many OTTBs) because she wasn’t as balanced that way. And, she doesn’t know her aids yet.
To test her theory, Lauren took her back to the lunge line and practiced giving her “contact” with the line, drawing it down from where she stood and then verbally asking for a transition to trot or canter. Lauren treated it like a half halt – not a hanging down on her mouth. At first, Bizzy replicated what she did with a rider on her back – she exploded into the next gait. But eventually she accepted what it meant and made the transition without fuss. In both directions.
She wasn’t in pain. There was nothing wrong. She just didn’t get it. Lauren’s a smart cookie. And so is B.