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Wizard: Rides 14 & 15… Brought to you by the Letter K

November 27, 2008

Wizard

Ride 14: 11/24/2008

After work, I drove to the barn. I spent a while walking Wizard in hand and working on asking him to move away from pressure. When we longed, he stopped a few times but moved forward willingly. My friend was working her (also green) mare in the arena. Wizard and I stood quietly while she rode her mare for a few laps around the arena in each direction. When the were done, I rode Wizard. We stayed at the walk and he was fantastic- forward, relaxed, and willing. At one point in the ride, he stopped. I gave him a verbal cue, coupled with a squeeze and a tap of the whip to enforce the forward movement. He listened and continued forward.

He felt a bit stiff on his right front foot, though. I’m still trying to figure out if he is arthritic or if there is a bigger physical issue underneath it all. He was not limping, but felt a little stiff. It did not seem to affect his mood or willingness to work. I walked him around the barn a few times and listened to his footfalls. I hear unevenness in the right front and left hind feet. I saw no stone bruises and felt no heat. The next day, he was out gallavanting with JR so he does not seem to be in any discomfort.

Ride 15: 11/27/08

Gobble Gobble! After Thanksgiving dinner with my family, my husband and I headed over to the barn to visit Wizard. Wizard seemed more interested in eating hay and relaxing in his stall than in meeting my other half, but he complied with my requests.

He is still sensitive about grooming and anything but the most soft brush makes him react. He is not mean about it, but he always tells me how he feels. I tacked him up and brought him in the indoor arena. The arena was filled with jumps. At first, Wizard gave them all a look but when I ignored them, he did as well.

We worked in hand on moving forward away from pressure. We stayed at a forward and relaxed pace at the walk. Then I asked him to move away from a dressage whip. To the left, he moved away wonderfully. To the right, by the letter K in the arena, I asked him to move forward two steps and he KICKED OUT! Maybe that’s what the letter K stands for in dressage. I growled my forward request one more time and was slightly more emphatic in my cue (a tap instead of a tickle) and he behaved immediately. I think that the kick was part of his resistance to go forward. I was sure to have plenty of rein so he could go forward and he was not too close to the wall so I do not believe that it was operator error. I think he’s resistant to the right for some reason.

We moved on to longeing at the walk and he was great. Did a few laps to each side without stopping a single time.

I put on my helmet and rode him for about 5 minutes. He was just as well-behaved as he was on Monday, but he was playing with the bit a little more. He tensed up going to the right but never even broke to a trot- I was able to keep him forward. When I ask him to change directions, I use an opening rein and we do a large Figure 8 shape. When I was happy with his walking, I halted him, dismounted, and told him what a clever and wonderful horse he is. He seems to like that part. Then we did a little more in-hand work, asking for walk and trot transitions.

When I walked him back into the barn, he was off for about 7 steps. Right front again! Are his soles tender? I feel no heat in his legs and he walked right out of it. An abscess brewing? I’m stumped and I’m not quite ready to throw more money at him yet. He obviously is sound enough to rear, buck, and gallop all day in his paddock. He seems to move out fine in the arena. I plan to work from the ground with him next time to see if I still see the soreness when he is not ridden.

My dressage buddy Stephanie had suggested long-lining him in one of my last ride reports. It’s a great idea and once we get him out of his stopping habit, I think it would be a great exercise to add to our routine. After seeing him kick out, though, I’m not so willing to get back there yet. I tried to teach myself how to long-line with Alibar and even with a perfectly-schooled horse, we ended up in a knot a time or two.

Tomorrow, I’m on my way to Aqueduct to see the Cigar Mile. Will report back with photos!

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