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JR Ride 1 (Session 4): Macaroni and Cheese

February 17, 2009

jr-and-me

Monday 2/16/09

JR was kind enough to keep one side reasonably clean after his bath on Thursday. My friend Sarah remarked that his color was so pretty after the bath that he looked like a bowl of macaroni and cheese. Perhaps that can be his jumper show name ;^)

I tacked him up and we did a short longeing session. We worked at the walk and trot. He broke into a canter a few times and I used it as an opportunity to bring him back to the trot with verbal cues. JR is a lot heavier on the longe line than Wizard- it does not bother him at all to pull on the line. I do my best to use pressure and release to keep the circles reasonably round. JR was barely winded when I was done longeing him. He’s getting a little fitter and not getting as excited on the longe line. Hooray!

My friend Sarah rode JR for about 10 minutes. They walked, then trotted a few large figure 8s. She hopped off and said, “Your turn!”

walk2

I mounted up and was immediately amazed how sturdy he felt. He’s just over 15 hands but he is so round and substantial that my leg did not feel too long at all.

His mouth is way less sensitive than Wizard’s mouth. He did not mind if I played with the bit at all. I need to make sure I don’t get too handsy with him. He rode nicely in the Happy Mouth bit. It allowed him to keep very comfortable contact but he also had plenty of stopping power. I’m starting to really like these bits.

walk21

walk3

We walked for a few minutes, and then Sarah prepared me to trot. She reminded me that the first few steps might be a little bumpy because he’s green and finding his own balance. The trot transition actually felt easier than Wizard’s. I think it reminded me more of Alibar’s old trot- very Quarter Horsey. We trotted on a 20 meter circle each way, then rode around the entire arena. We worked on figure 8s and I learned how to work him through the center to help him balance, as well as how to ride him past the gate, where he likes to slow down. The lesson lasted about 20 minutes, which was really the most real riding I’ve done in months. The work I do with Wizard is much more at the walk and our trot work is in smaller bits, but JR is balanced and comfortable enough to start trot work already.

trot2

It felt really nice to do some meaningful work in the saddle. Speaking of the saddle, it was sliding to the side! The girth was definitely tight enough but the saddle still slipped. JR has nice withers but he is a round boy. I’ll need to do some tinkering to see if I can get the saddle to sit better on him.

When I was done riding JR, I groomed Wizard and brought him out to the arena to let him loose and stretch his legs. He seems a little more comfortable. I’m looking forward to the farrier appointment on Saturday. Hopefully a set of shoes on Wizard and a trim for JR will have me riding much more frequently.

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