Tuesday, January 2, 2024


Goggles moved to his new farm on Sunday. I tried to squeeze in as much as possible his last week with JT. JT did a few training rides on him, and then I took a lesson on Friday. My husband came down to film. Fortunately he was mostly looking at the camera and didn't appreciate quite how wild Goggles was. He was genuinely spooky at a few things and then also just really wanted to pay attention to anything but what we were doing. Keeping it real, he's a LARGE four year old with lots of opinions, and more than once I've thought about full training and fully waving my adult ammy card. But at the end of the day, he hasn't ever done anything truly rotten or unsittable. And I want to learn how to bring along a young horse. Plus I have great health insurance and am relatively under paid until you look at the fringe rate. So here we are. My husband pointed out the "obstinate" look on his face. Yeppppp, he can look truly a bit mule-ish sometimes. He's got opinions and wants to express them. But that confidence is also what keeps me hopeful that as long as we channel him properly he's going to want to do the job and have a lot more bravery to go with it compared to his older brother.  

Back to the lesson, he was very, very all over the place. Definitely a "squirrel!!!" kinda day. There was a horse tearing around nearby and shrieking. Then there was a child in the distance in the field (a child who he has seen many, many times before, but y'know). 

But we channelled it and ended on some really nice jumps. The first half of the lesson was walk trot transitions and circles to keep his attention focused. The canter work was... A lot... He was pretty resistant to going forward, and I was pretty resistant to tapping him with the whip. Not necessarily the best combo because JT also didn't want me shoving him with my seat to keep the canter. We got there eventually though. I settled for some shoulder taps and he acquiesced by not bucking. 

Then we added in trot poles, and he sorta kinda acted like he'd never seen them. We made circles over them until he was just trotting them, not launching. It also really helped his focus when I was directing him around over the poles rather than just generally asking him to please participate. Then we made loops over three tiny cross rails. If he landed and was a ding-a-ling, lift up and do a 10m circle. But it was a fine balance because he was being a bit conservative over the jump and therefore doing a weird bunny hop rather than a smooth jump. Treating it like a canter transition and grabbing mane helped smooth that out (but unfortunately isn't caught on video). We ended with actually cantering a cross rail, and he was super for that. 

Overall it was a hugely productive lesson, but so challenging physically and mentally for me. Big take aways:
  • Give him something to do if he's being a fruit loop - poles, transitions, changing circle direction and size
  • The running martingale I added today was... Much appreciated... As JT said, boundaries are much needed at this stage... 
  • Be specific about where he is going and at what pace, I'm the one making the decisions
  • Go forward in the canter, but with leg or a tap, not shoving with my seat. Then he has to hold and carry himself. If he breaks pick it up again, I choose when we're stopping. 
Saturday we trialed the Custom jump saddle we've been riding in after it had a bit of flocking added. He was good, but very, very tired. Since he was not nearly as up, I was able to confidently push him a bit more forward over the jumps, so he was jumping a bit better. We did have a stop at the oxer cross rail, but we broke it down and ended up going over that confidently too. Good boy. 

Sunday I loaded him up bright and early to be at Majestic around 730. They were holding one of their schooling jumper shows, and JT had set the course. He loaded up pretty well and unloaded pretty well. I had pulled my ammy card out on this one and when JT offered to be there that morning, I answered with a resounding YES and asked if she would ride him please. She did ask that I toss him on the lunge to get any LARGE bucks out before she got on. I had him in his rope halter and offered the canter and buck option to him. He declined and opted to just trot very, very fast without moving his back. But he was still nicely responsive to walk and trot commands in spite of the obvious tension.

He's so funny now, he knows his business going places... EAT GRASS!!! And he does so while still looking really pretty tense. But since eating grass involves his head down, not sticking straight up making him roughly 20 hands high, it is still definitely preferable. 

After his five minutes lunging on the rope line, he stood tied to the trailer without giving me any doubts about whether or not he'd still be there if I ducked into the tack room to grab things. Good boy! 

Still very tall

JT arrived and we walked him over to the warm up arena. He got VERY TALL again, but was still mostly listening and not tromping on us. 

Then they went into warm up. A couple of times he considered options other than politely trotting around, but when he hit the martingale he gave to the pressure and engaged his brain cells again. JT was calm and consistent asking for circles and transitions. He went HOLY SHIT what is that the first time she pointed him at a cross rail, but then went right over it after that. So in the ring they went to trot over the ground pole piles. He was a bit shocked by being asked to trot between the ZEBRAS but again listened and gained confidence as they trotted around. 

There was a whole passel of kiddos there on ponies to do crossrails, so we eyed the warm up arena again but then opted to jump right back into the ring and go trot and canter the tiny crossrails. He was SO GOOD! You can see in the video when he lost his cantering privileges after flailing over one, but he listened to the half halts and got to do his first two stride (which they radioed shouldn't have been put up for crossrails as she was halfway through the course). 

Best of all, after they came out she asked him to face back towards the ring and hang and he stood there for about ten minutes with his head getting closer and closer to wither level. He stood tied while I untacked and sponged him off, and then he got on the trailer pretty well again. 

His big day wasn't done yet though, we drove up to his new digs about five minutes from my house. 

He explored the perimeter of his pasture first and then made friends with the mini mare and the 8 mo filly across the fence. 

Love the baby mouth

Goggles is in LOVE with the mini mare

He settled in pretty well but has had some angst when they are far from him. And when the barn owner needed to bring hers in because of some electrical work, he decided to run for a while. She brought him in at my request,  and he's now on stall board for the month rather than pasture board. We shall see if we succeed at throwing him back out in February. She's got lovely, large pastures with tons of shade, so if he could let go of a bit of his friends angst, I think he would be plenty happy out in the field. 


  1. love all your bullet points from the lesson, so very very relatable haha. also that grass ring is legit the prettiest, i can't wait until our ground dries up again so we can get out on some grass! sounds like a great show experience for him too, congrats!

    1. Her ring is so lovely, we are definitely spoiled. It is never hard or slippery and only rarely muddy.