Retraining a Racehorse - Moonfire (Week 5)
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   4th Sep 2010   •   7,108 views   •   8 comments
From Monday 16 August to Saturday 21 August all my time with Moony was spent preparing for his first practice show, scheduled to take place on Sunday 22 August.

Since we haven't been doing anything new, I won't go through it in detail. We've mostly just been repeating what we already know - working harder on the left lead which is now starting to come right with LOADS of patience and persistence. We've been working mostly on grids - and I decided to introduce bascule poles: Two poles placed in a 'V' shape leaning against the pole you wish the horse to jump. They encourage straightness, better shape, and a bigger jump. I found they helped Moony to grasp the concept of lifting his hind legs better, so I was very pleased with the results there.

The 60cm clear round and 70cm jump off.

I also worked a little more on his flying changes so that I would have a better opportunity at getting a smooth round at the show.

Finally, the day of the show dawned not so bright and not so clear. In fact, there was a fair amount of wind and even a spot of rain. Still, I figured it was a good test for Moony, so I tacked him up and walked him down the road, since it was just a little local show, if a very well done one. Moony was a little tender on the road since he's had his shoes taken off quite recently, so we had to take it very slow and eventually ended up getting there a bit late, meaning that I couldn't enter the clear round class as I had originally planned to.

Instead, I took Moony in the 60cm speed class, and decided to just take it slow and steady. They let us walk the course on horseback, so I took the opportunity to show Moony the new jumps. He seemed quite nervous of some of them, but nothing like how nervous a horse would ordinarily be at its first show, at least from my experience. Before I went in for my round, I hurried over to the warm up arena and got him loosened and warm as quickly as I could. I didn't have time to do any proper schooling, but I got him working well and made sure he was comfortable doing the warm up jumps in a strange place. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was not even slightly phased at jumping somewhere he had never been before. He truly is an oddity, that horse... As such, I took him back to the arena just in time for my round. I used the full time I was given after my bell to get him into a nice forward canter, as he was a little uncertain on the different ground. Once he got going, however, he was simply phenomenal! He jumped everything without hesitance, he went very smoothly, and I only had to change his lead through trot once! He did 2 flying changed on the course, and the rest of the time he landed on the right lead! He drifted and got a little crooked in the one related line, but I managed to correct him and he still jumped it nicely. He finished with a super, smooth clear round that, due to his lovely forward canter, left him 6th in the class.

What I did notice was that toward the end of the round Moony began getting a bit casual. This was not entirely unexpected, as I was already aware that 60cm is actually too low for him - but certainly a good height to start at. Still, I decided that it would probably do Moony good to enter the 70cm competition as well, since he was going so brilliantly.

Thankfully, I had a lot more time to warm up for this one, so I got him going on the bit, bending, and lovely and supple. I made sure to get him striking off on the left lead a few times, then experimented with striding a little over the warm up jumps, and found that Moony seems to jump better off a slightly longer stride.

After that, I snuck off to the teeny little 'almost' cross country course that they have at the venue, and hopped Moony over a little log, a bank and a tiny bench. Of course, he had absolutely no problems there.

Next it was time for our class. I got Moony cantering smoothly, but I think that perhaps I kept him a little too collected into the first jump, and as it was a very spindly contraption, he didn't quite respect it enough and just clipped it down. After that, he had an AMAZING round, and I was so pleased with him! Since he was going so well, I asked the show officials if I could do the jump off non-competitively, and they kindly allowed me to.

Once again, that awful first jump fell down, though this time I think it was probably just because he didn't quite respect it enough, so he didn't give it enough space to clear it as he had yet to notice the increased height. From there, he was brilliant. I could not have asked for a better course! He jumped neatly and comfortably with no hesitance and a smooth rhythm. We were on the wrong lead into the last jump, so I had to correct him through trot there, but otherwise I thought it was a round for the record books.

70cm class Jump
70cm class Jump number 2.

70cm class Jump
70cm class Jump number 3.

70cm class Jump
70cm class Jump number 6.

70cm class Jump
70cm class Jump number 10.

Moony really enjoyed his show, and I know that I for one can't wait to start him in real shows! He just keeps getting better and better, and it turns out he is a much braver jumper than I originally thought.
Great job!
  Sep 5, 2010  •  5,916 views
Mystic Magic  
Gee sure is doing well, congrats on getting this far. He has a lovely jump and seems like a pretty genuine horse.
  Sep 5, 2010  •  5,848 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Thanks guys. :) He is just super! He has the most amazing attitude, and every time I ride him he seems to enjoy it more and more. ^_^ His jump has improved a lot as well, and he's pretty chilled and brave... It's a nice mix in a jumping horse.
  Sep 5, 2010  •  5,730 views
Great job guys!! You both looked great! Good luck in the future with him, Polo!
  Sep 5, 2010  •  5,733 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Thank you! :D
  Sep 6, 2010  •  5,730 views
Softball Girl  
I love your horse it is sooooo cute!! Did you teach him your self?
  Sep 6, 2010  •  5,762 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Thanks! He's great. :) Yup - I got him off the track on 5 July and have been working with him since. I've trained most of my horses myself. :D
  Sep 9, 2010  •  5,730 views
Inactive Member  
Wow, moony is looking great, nice work polo!
  Sep 22, 2010  •  5,757 views
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