Early yesterday morning I took Llani into a clear round, complete with scary fillers. He’s quite a worried horse, who sees ghosts, but is getting much braver. On Saturday he walked straight past a bonfire and just stared for a moment at a herd of cows.
When I’ve been riding him I’ve tried to teach him to stop and look, not run away from scary monsters. He’s definitely learning because, unless he can’t see it, he now stops and looks at things to comprehend the situation before doing what I’ve quietly asked him to do.
So it was nice and early, with no other competitors, so I warmed Llani up in the warm up arena and popped the jumps. They were only about 65cm, but height isn’t an issue for him so I wanted a course that was an easy height to reduce one worry for him, and then we could focus on the filler aspect.
The warm up fences were easy and he took them in his stride so I took him to the clear round as soon as it was open. I walked and trotted near each fence and was pleased that he didn’t spook at any. I didn’t make a point of looking at the jumps, but let him assimilate himself with them.
The first jump was a plain spread, so we popped that from trot easily and then I brought him back to trot for the first of the fillers. Keeping a positive trot, with my shoulders up and looking beyond the fence I just squeezed my legs so that he took me straight to the fence. He had a little look but the pressure of my legs and upright position meant he kept going. He sailed over it as if it was 90cm. I kept the canter towards the second of the related distance, another filler. To my pleasure, Llani didn’t even look at the fence.
I brought him back to trot for each line of jumps so that he had a bit more time to process the question. In the double we had a bit of a wobble, but he responded to me well and straightened himself out.
Then there was a white gate. I thought this may pose a problem to worried Llani, but after a quick look he sailed over and before I knew it I was at the black and white spread. He slowed to look but then jumped it happily enough before sailing over the last couple to finish.
I though Llani showed huge improvement today, as nothing phased him. Yes, it was quiet, but there was still a lot to look at and he listened to me and took my lead. I really think that a few more positive experiences like that and he’d really start looking like a teenagers competition prospect. He looks so needs a quietly confident rider, but he is very honest and gives each jump his best shot, tucking up his legs so as not to touch a pole.