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Wizard Ride #22: Out of the Box

December 12, 2008

Wizard

Friday 12/12/08: Great ride! As mentioned in my recent winter plan post, I assembled a square out of four jump poles and used it as a training tool. It worked really well!

First, I brought Wizard into the arena and let him loose while I set up the poles. Silly horse followed me like a dog. I found it to be quite flattering. When the poles were set up, I asked for a little free longeing. It really seems to be a great way for us to communicate. I can get him to travel in both directions and he even stays in a perfect longeing circle for a few rotations! After he trotted and cantered a little bit, I introduced him to the square with the clicker. He was loose in the arena but he figured out the square really quickly. I really liked his expression when he walked into the square and looked at me as if to say, “I’m in my box, where’s my carrot?”

Then, I tacked him up and we worked in hand for a few minutes. I asked Wizard to walk in the square, walk out. Then asked to walk in, halt, walk out. Then asked to walk in, halt, do a really basic turn on the forehand for a quarter turn, then walk out. He loved it! I was using the clicker and he picked up on the idea really quickly.

Then we longed for about 5 minutes. He’s so much better now that I understand how to get him moving. I don’t need to twirl as much and I’m working on training verbal cues. I hope to have him longeing without the twirling longe whip eventually.

Then we rode for about 15 minutes. It was our best ride yet (not too tough since we have not done anything but walking so far, ha ha). Working with the ground pole square kept him focused on his task. It also produced a really precise halt! I did not try the quarter turn in the square yet, but we;ll give it a shot next time. He seems to move his hindquarters with the cue of an opening rein and a little leg. Wizard felt very relaxed and willing- I could almost feel him waiting for my next cue. I walked him over ground poles, did a large Figure 8, halted, and we were done. Good boy!

Before our ride, I took Wizard out to graze. It was brisk and windy after so much rain and all of the horses were feeling silly. Wizard gave a big spook behind the arena while I was grazing him, but I held my ground and he went back to normal.

Pictured below is Gala enjoying playtime after the rain.

Puddle Jumping

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