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JR Session 10; Wizard Session 53: Tick, tick, tick…

March 5, 2009

JR

Wednesday, 3/4/2009

I pulled a dog tick off of Wizard tonight. In early March, when we have a foot of snow on the ground. Very strange! Poor guy looked so relieved to have it removed.

Tonight, I set up a little chute and free-schooled Mary, JR, and Wizard over jumps. Free schooling is excellent for horse-human communication since you are forced to use your body language to control your horse from a distance. Your horse learns to listen to your “whoa” and “go” commands without any tack getting in the way. Free schooling over jumps incorporates negotiating an obstacle into the mix, plus your horse is building good muscles and it’s a great break from the regular day-to-day activities of riding and longeing.

Mary the Morgan has never free jumped before. She has experience navigating logs and trees on the trails and even hopped a jump by herself in the ring one day, but this was her first time officially jumping. We first started the exercise by walking her over ground poles, then a small cross rail. Then, we asked her to take the jump at a trot. Being a Morgan, she was very clever in her approach. She saw a slim gap between the jump and the wall and slithered through it! Horses like Wizard and JR would never have discovered that clever approach- it’s very different to work with Morgans! Once she took the jump, she handled the cross rail with maturity. She showed no fear at all, and simply stepped over it. We asked her to do the cross rail twice more. Then, we changed it to a very small vertical, maybe a foot off the ground. There was no deer-like leaping or any confusion- she hopped the jump like it was so not a big deal. Her fearless approaches and the way she handles obstacles so realistically makes me think she could do cross-country.

Mary

JR was up next. Tonight was his first time jumping. He was green but totally game. I could tell that he was a little confused about when to leave the ground, but when he landed, he took off proudly bucking and celebrating with a victory lap. He knocked a pole once but the next time over the jump, he curled his knees high and jumped really carefully. He’s such an athletic and coordinated horse that I think he’ll get the hang of jumping really quickly. He took six jumps total- three cross rails and three verticals. One of the things I really like about JR is that he’s a real working horse. He figured out how to trot the lap around the arena, take the fence, and trot back again. He looked like he was going to do a final lap on his own even after the jumping session was over.

JR

This was Wizard’s third time over free jumps and he looked like a total pro. I was so pleased to see him starting to understand how to take off and how to land. His flagged tail and snorty trotting showed me that he was pleased with his new hobby. I’ve been free jumping Wizard about once a month and he has improved every time. If I squint my eyes, I can almost see myself on his back in these photos. I got the jumping fever looking at these photos. But it will be a lonnnnng time before he’s anywhere near jumping with a rider. But it’s fun to dream ;^)

Wizard

Wizard

2 Comments leave one →
  1. lori permalink
    March 5, 2009 8:20 am

    Must have been so great to watch. Oooh, Mary the Morgan is a very pretty girl.

  2. Yatima permalink
    March 5, 2009 11:59 am

    Wow! Look at Wizard’s bascule! That’s awesome!

    I love JR’s expression: dude is so eager to please!

    My one real cross-country ride was on a Morgan/Welsh mare, Wilma the Wonder Pony. She was fab!

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