Rehabbing Your Baby Dragon: Four Months of Handwalking Later …

Seana Adamson is chronicling the rehabilitation of her rowdy young horse Eragon after a major injury. After a long writing hiatus, during which Seana and Eragon handwalked many miles, Seana is back with an update!

If you are new to Seana and Eragon’s story, catch up on past installments: “The Long Road Back: How to Rehab Your Baby Dragon,” “Rehabbing Your Baby Dragon: The Second Month,” “Rehabbing Your Baby Dragon: Adventures in Handwalking” and “Rehabbing Your Baby Dragon: 5 Truths About Handwalking.”

Eragon taking flight. Photo courtesy of Seana Adamson.

Eragon taking flight. Photo by Morgane Schmidt Gabriel.

It has been excruciatingly difficult to write this update on Eragon.  I’ve put it off for far too long but I just could not imagine that anyone would be interested in the monotony of this story. I’ll try to make it amusing at least since the bulk of these last 4 months has been something like this:

Walking, walking, walking, more walking. “Eragon stop it!!”, walking , walking, “Eragon stop it!  I mean it!!” Walking, walking, more walking.

Trot one long side. “Eragon stop it!” Trot another long side. Gasp for air. Walking ,walking walking. Trot once around the arena. Gasp for air. God I’m out of shape. Walking ,walking, more walking.

Trot two minutes. How come I’m breathing so much harder than the horse? Kind of like flying a 1300 pound kite when that dirt bike went flying by. “Eragon stop it, stop it stop it!!” Walking , walking walking, more walking.

That was pretty much it for the last 4 months.

The good news is that Eragon looked super sound from the first step of trot. Once he was trotting for three minutes I was able to keep him on a large lunge circle; at five minutes I put him in tack and had him trotting into contact. He looked fabulous.

It would have been much better for Eragon to stay off of any lunge circles and have a rider sending him straight ahead. However, I was much too chicken to do this myself, and had no access to someone who was wanting to be a crash-test dummy, so lunge line it was.

One warm winter day I decided to get on. We sidled up to the mounting block and I swung carefully onto Eragon’s back. I asked him to walk forward but he would not move. Was he gathering himself for an enormous buck? No, he was remembering our old routine, where I always gave him a sugar cube at the mounting block. Fortunately I had a stray sugar in my pocket, and after inserting his cube of bit coin he marched happily forward as if he had been ridden every day for the last eight months.

Eragon is now up to 20 minutes of trotting under saddle and is just starting the canter work. There are still days I do not ride him and only work him on the lunge, and he still does some spectacular airs above the ground. To date he has generously refrained from any such shenanigans while I’m on him. Eragon has insisted that I allow him to share his side of the story. So below you will find a short story in Eragon’s own words.


Hi. Me be Eragon Stahpit. Last year I hurt my foot and my human practically had meltdown. She was all sad and colicky. We stopped our morning works and then we be just walking and walking and walking. And me gets bucks and bucks must go free. When you gets bucks you must not hold bucks in or it makes you all twitchy. So I tries to hold bucks in but I gets so twitchy I set them all free and my human yells my name “Eragon Stahpit!”

So then I try to let bucks out little bit at a time. I likes to play “Periscope Up!” But She says my name “Eragon Stahpit!!!” all the time. And we be walking and walking and walking. And then one day we starts trotting and human is so weak. It is funny, She all shuffling along and breathing like She just did extended trots for 30 minutes.

"Periscope up!" Photo courtesy of Seana Adamson.

“Periscope up!” Photo by Morgane Schmidt Gabriel.

My human has kind eyes sometimes but sometimes they’re all sharp and beady. And She always looks at her little flat square brain. She talks to it and laughs at it. And it talks back to her and then She be all distracted so I can do anything I want so I bite Stormy and he squeals like a little pony mare and human’s eyes get all beady and she yells “Eragon Stahpit!” Then I wait till she looks at her little square brain again and I can tip over bucket cause maybe there’s food but I guess I knew there wasn’t but buckets should always be tipped over when possible. So She says my name again and She’s all mad and I pretend I be all scared but I’m not really. Hee hee.

So we be walking and walking and walking. And then we start to trot more, and human always is all out of breath. I think something must be wrong with her because She does not ride me. I thinks She has a problem and She needs to do much walking. But it be super boring. Sometimes I set free bucks and She yells my whole name, “Eragon Stahpit!!!!”.

Then one day human rides me again! I make sure She remembers about sugar at mounting block. And I would never tell her but it be fun to have her back in the saddle. Whatever was wrong with human be better now. But sometimes She still be all nervous when it be windy or cold.

So I hope I be writing more later. But for now I be totally starving. My humans do not feed me nearly enough so please send food immediately. Especially cookies. And carrotses. #EragonStahpitNeedsFood.

Seana Adamson Ph.D, is a psychologist specializing in Sport Psychology for equestrians. She is a United States Dressage Federation Gold Medalist, has been training dressage horses and riders for over 30 years, and is the author of “Memorize That Dressage Test: A workbook of mental games to improve focus and flow.” Learn more by visiting

Seana Adamson

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