All horses have their little quirks when they don’t really want to work. Scottie’s most recent one is very inconvenient!
Over the past few months, Scottie’s outline has become so much more consistent. However, on days where he is tense or not very forward, or both, he has developed a new habit. This habit involves not being relaxed in an outline, but being asked to work properly. So what he does instead is bob his head up and down. This in itself, is not an issue. It’s annoying because no matter how he does it, it will always lose marks in a test. But as soon as he relaxes again, it stops.
The problem is, Scottie bobs his head perfectly in time to his trot, making him look lame. Just to clear up, he isn’t lame. He feels fine when he is doing it. He doesn’t do it on a long rein, when we are warming up, cooling down, when he is being a giraffe or when he is working forward into an outline. However, when for whatever reason he tenses up or decides he has had enough, this new habit arises when being asked to work properly. If I were to drop the reins or when he actually moves off my leg, it stops. It’s just frustrating!
I chose a bad day to film my dressage test this month for E Dressage, but I don’t see the point in filming loads of attempts as it stops being a reflection of competition. The test I enter is how he was on the day. He was fairly tense and I was unsure as to how far I could push him. So I decided to ride a calm, correct test, rather than ride for a good test and have some interesting movements. Because of my tactics, despite a long warm up in the school, he was fairly tense beginning of our test, even looking worriedly at the camera down the centre line. The first minute of the test, his head bobbing is really quite bad. But he relaxes and has some really nice bits later in the test. So I have sent it in anyway and will just have to see how it goes.
You can see the test below!