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JR Ride 8; Wizard Ride 51: Heels Down!

February 26, 2009

Nice trot!

Wednesday, 2/25/09

I lost Alibar in September 2008 but I still see reminders of him all the time. I bought a bag of hay cubes for Wizard and I just about started bawling when I started making them. We made hay cubes for Alibar for over a decade- it was a signature Alibar dish.

I started the night with JR. First, I turned him out in the indoor arena to let him blow off a little steam and stretch his legs. We worked on some clicker training at liberty. Although JR was a little slow out of the gate with clicker training, he has caught up really quickly. I rewarded him for circling around me and also for approaching me on command. I think that a moderate amount of liberty training really strengthens the bond between horse and rider. I’ve never used round pens- I find a big arena to be just fine for what I need.

I tacked up JR and Sarah rode him first. She rode for about 10 minutes. She worked on adjusting his stride- forward trot, working trot, sitting trot. She also cantered him. For a green horse who has been out of work for more than a year, he was quite balanced. JR has a really nice inner balance and rhythm and I think he has the ability to go really far as a riding horse. JR just barely broke a sweat by the time she was done.

Then it was my turn. JR and I had a workout! Sarah really put us through our paces. We trotted figure 8s, serpentines, and figure 8s down the long side (really skinny figure 8s). Sarah asked us for three trots: forward trot, posting trot, and sitting trot. JR has a remarkable forward trot! He never feels like he is going to break into a canter and he sort of floats along. His natural ability to adjust his gaits will be an asset if he ends up doing any dressage. We rode for about 20 or 25 minutes. By the time we were done, I was sweating! I’ve ridden all my life but since Alibar got sick and before that hurt his leg, I barely rode in 2008. In the beginning of the lesson, JR did a lot of adjusting his head, sometimes up, sometimes out, sometimes down. At the end of the lesson, I could feel JR stretching into the bit and accepting contact. His trot became more rhythmical and easy to ride. I cooled him out, groomed him, and moved onto the next victim :^)

I let Wizard spend about 10 minutes loose in the arena to stretch his legs and so I could see how he was feeling on the new shoes. He looks more comfortable. I tacked him up and Sarah rode him for about 10 minutes. A lot of the relaxation and schooling we did in January has regressed. He was back to being tense and anticipating the trot. Sarah was very patient with him and worked on asking for a quiet trot on a large circle. He did relax a bit after a few rounds. Then, I rode him for about 10 minutes. I think that it will not take as long to get him settled this time around as it did last month. Even though he had a layoff, I find that horses pick up training quickly once they have already learned it at some point. We did a few quiet walk/trot transitions and then walked some more, working on getting him to his “happy place”. Wizard simply needs more physical care and work than JR. I love working with them both and I am beginning to appreciate their differences.

It’s also really nice to be doing actual riding lessons. It feels good to have somebody tell me to put my heels down :^) Part of the comfort of a lesson is that I can allow somebody else to pilot the ride while I work on myself. I can focus more and we both improve. I’m really impressed with the progress we made. Can’t wait for the next lesson!

Wizard

2 Comments leave one →
  1. oregonsunshine permalink
    February 26, 2009 12:58 pm

    Have I told you how adorable I think JR is? If not, he’s such a cutie!

    I lurk a lot. I don’t usually have anything to add to your posts, but I do love to read about Wizard and JR and see your photos.

  2. February 27, 2009 12:44 am

    Aw, thank you so much! I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting. It makes me so happy to hear that you’re following our adventures :^)

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