I’ve done it. After months of subtle hints from Lorraine at schoolyourhorse.com (‘a tap with a whip would really help’) and not so subtle hints from Vicky (‘if you can’t keep the canter in your dressage I’m going to throw a schooling whip at you’) I’ve bought a schooling whip. And what a difference it makes!
I hardly ever have to use it, but Oscar knowing it’s there is enough. He is electric off my leg, and tries so much harder than he did before! His hocks are full of power and you can just feel the energy and impulsion in his strides. His head drops onto a steady, willing contact and he’s very forward. If he ignores my leg, he gets a tap with the whip. If I feel him slowing in canter, he gets a tap with the whip. And it just gives him that extra spark he needs to work so much better.
And it’s paying off in jumping aswell. Swapping the schooling whip for a crop, he actually jumps properly! None of this bare minimum to get over the fence rubbish – an actual proper jump! Legend pony!
I still have to take a few minutes to settle him when we first go in the school, as he used to get beaten he’s a bit unsure of the whip, and we’re still trying to perfect swapping it into the other hand.
But he’s doing really, really well. We’ve hacked out a few times since the incident we had a few weeks ago, and he’s been good as gold. I was worried that his cough would come back with a vengance when we ran out of supplement, but apart from the odd snort he’s been ok.
I’ve got 10 days left until I have to say goodbye to him for a month! :( but then hopefully he’ll be coming up to Shropshire to man up and be a northern live-out! It’s starting to feel really close now, as we had to say goodbye to some people on the yard today. They’re going away on holiday and wont be back before the Hibberds and I leave, so we won’t see them any more. Which is sad because I liked them, and saw them most days. It’s weird that all these people won’t be a part of my life any more.
So, there we have it. Oscar is being a babe, -10 days and counting.