John has spent a whole month trotting now, see what he thinks about it below.
Cantering at last!
Thursday 12th July
I thought now we were trotting this lunging business would stop but apparently Lawrie still thinks it’s good for me. What with that and this trotting round in circles business, retraining is rather hard work! I think he only does it when he can’t be bothered to ride me and wants to get home for a glass of wine if I’m honest!
Monday 16th July
Lawrie is getting rather ahead of himself. We are now going in the school at least once a week as well as lunging once a week! Today he told me that he was going to register me with Retraining of Racehorses, that does not sound fun to me. He said that he is emailing my owners though and they are pleased with how we are getting on so I suppose that is good.
My owners are great, they are a syndicate called “The Shy John Syndicate” (that’s right I have an actual syndicate named after me.) They have owned me for nearly all of my racing career and they are a nice group of people who are all friends with Alex and Chris Mason who bred me. Peter and Niff Mason who trained me (Peter also rode me) are also in the syndicate so it is a bit of a family affair! I am glad Lawrie keeps telling them how hard he is making me work although they seem to think it is a good thing which is disappointing!
Monday 23rd July
We turned right again and straight up White Horse Hill. Lawrie made me trot from the bottom to the top which was very hard work, especially as he still won’t let me stick my head in the air. I had a good jump around at the bottom because there were children and tents in the campsite so that kept him on his toes. Also there is a really scary signpost halfway up the hill (all the rest are fine but this one is always scary, so much so that I’d make sure I start shying at it really early). Lawrie gets all nervous then because it’s on the edge of the hill so there is a big drop to the left. He clearly has no faith in me! We came back down through the National Trust car park which was also pretty scary but I got to have a good read about all the things to do up there on the sign post. On the way home I decided to throw something new in and have a rear because he still wouldn’t let me put my head up and I was cross. That shocked him a bit but it didn’t work, he still made me go “long and low” as he calls it the rest of the way back, back to the drawing board.
Saturday 28th July
Back in the school today and that Tony was there so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy (although I did have a jazzy new white saddlecloth which I thought looked rather smart). We got in the school and Tony told Lawrie to walk me round on a loose rein for five minutes so that I had a chance to see everything which made spooking much harder as I had no excuse. Then when we started trotting Tony seemed surprised by how much we had improved since last time. I mean we have been practicing nearly every day since last time (much to my disgust) and I can do it when I want to, it’s just that I find it boring sometimes when there is so much to look at.
Anyway he had stopped me having an excuse to look at stuff so I thought I may as well cooperate this time (also Lawrie was wearing spurs today so I knew that if I didn’t behave he may use them). Eventually (after being in work for two whole months) we got to canter although cantering in the school is not the same as the gallops! It was actually quite hard, after all that time off I had to learn to balance myself and apparently it matters which leg I am on! We worked very hard (Tony even got on me at one point) and eventually they seemed happy so we got to stop. I am glad to be cantering but I hope we don’t always have to go in the school!!
Monday 30th July
More cantering in the school today. I do find it hard, particularly on the right rein, but Lawrie says practice makes perfect. Easy for him to say, he just gets to sit on top (although for some reason he is always as sweaty as me when we finish)! Anyway after a bit of resistance because I didn’t like having to work hard I gave in and was good and pretty much as soon as I was good he took me in. What a waste of time.
When I got in and was washed off Lawrie pulled these funny sock things over my legs, apparently they are Equi-N-icE Icesocks and are to help my legs because I had that bad leg last year. It went super cold within a couple of minutes, I was pretty glad when he took them off! He says I have to have them every time we canter or jump or do any strenuous work so that my leg doesn’t start hurting again. I don’t really like them because they are so cold but it’s better than having that sore leg so I guess I will put up with them!
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