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Wizard Ride 28: You Again???

December 26, 2008

love your suit!"

Friday 12/26/08

Wizard must be getting sick of me by now. I’ve ridden 4 days in a row. I normally get to the barn about 3 days a week but I had a little extra time due to Christmas and staying at my Mom and Dad’s place taking care of their German Shepherd Dog, Slade.

For the past few weeks, Wizard has shown improvement during grooming. When I first started working with him, he was extremely ticklish and did not enjoy grooming at all. Then he became more tolerant as I learned how he liked to be groomed. But today and yesterday, he was back to being annoyed with grooming. He pinned his ears a few times and tossed his head. He’s never dangerous about it, but he’s clearly annoyed. It’s a well-known observation in the horse world that Thoroughbreds are thin-skinned and sensitive to grooming so I do my best to use the softest brushes and my best grooming technique. He’s always better about grooming after a ride. So should I reprimand him for being so goosey during grooming? Or do I continue to investigate the cause? Or should I keep working on my technique? The chiropractor just gave him an adjustment and did not feel any major problems. I think that Wizard will have a deeper appreciation for grooming when he begins to shed out his winter coat this spring.

I tacked up and put a quarter sheet on Wizard. Since the chiropractor noticed that his left hamstring seemed to have an old injury, I decided to try to keep the muscles warm during warmup and cooldown. He seems fine with wearing the sheet. We started by longeing for about 10 minutes. He longed beautifully- even better than yesterday. I was able to do large figures around the arena with him. He circled and even trotted down the long sides, all on the longe line. When I clucked to him, he lengthened his trot a little bit- hooray! He only balked once, and that was when I lost my focus for a moment. I no longer need to twirl the whip while he trots- I only twirl it if he needs more encouragement.

I tried out a new set of side reins that my friend had purchased. They were too short for Wizard so we barely used them.

I asked Wizard for a few basic commands from the ground. I’m beginning to ask him for a turn on the forehand from the ground and he’s doing really well so far. We tried it in each direction and then I asked for him to move his shoulders. He is SO much more willing to yield to pressure. I asked him to back up and he was a little more reluctant to do that, but still obeyed me.

After our ground work, I mounted up and we rode for about 20 minutes- it was too long of a ride. Wizard started out really nicely but I let the ride go on too long before asking for a trot. We started out walking the long sides and doing large figure 8s, baby serpentines, and what I call “paper clips”. There were no poles or obstacles and I think that Wizard lost focus and I was probably not riding with enough purpose. When I asked for the trot, I got the same unbalanced and confused trot I got the day before. I’m sure it’s my fault and now I need to figure out how to fix it. Once I got Wizard’s “good walk” back, I halted him and called it a day.

Wizard is trotting really nicely on the longe so I know he’s more balanced than he was when we began our work together. I need to learn to help him trot. Right now, I’m getting in his way. The thing that bothered me the most about the bungled effort was that he felt tense afterwards. When he gets tense, his neck is about two inches long and he tucks himself up in a ball as he walks along. It’s a real challenge for me to stay off his mouth when he does this. Today, I combatted my bad habit by resting my right hand knuckles in his neck and holding the reins with my left hand. It worked pretty well. I cannot let myself get grabby.

I think my plan for one of our next rides is to ask my friend to ride Wizard so I can see how he looks- and hopefully she can watch me and tell me if I’m doing anything wrong. I’m a very visual learner and I think I’ll be more comfortable balancing him if I see him trotting with another rider.

It was not a bad ride by any means, but after all of our little accomplishments, it’s a little tough to swallow a bump in the road. Wizard did not seem to mind, especially since I started him on a little daily bucket of Alfa Supreme today :^)

Christmas with Slade

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2008 2:19 am

    Raven is also ticklish when grooming and I just ignore any negative reaction unless it’s particularly unmannerly. If I am working on a spot that she doesn’t like (flanks, loin, back) I will keep working on it until the moment she relaxes and then move onto to something i know she likes (withers, shoulders, neck). Now she accepts pretty much everything, but I definitely noticed that she gets more and more relaxed as she begins to trust me more and more — it’s been almost a year.

  2. December 27, 2008 5:38 pm

    A thousand years ago mom had me start a two year old paint filly by a TB stallion. She would fall down trying to get away from you when you brushed her, she was that goosy. We hobbled her and just went slow, and knew not to really poke and prod with her. She learned it was a necessary evil, and other than that she was a very sweet horse.


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