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Wizard Ride 69: Puddle Jumpers

April 6, 2009


Sunday, 4/5/09

After work, I hustled over to the barn for a quick ride. Rain is expected for the next few days so I wanted to ride outdoors while I had the chance. We had amazingly beautiful weather here in NJ today: sunny with temps in the low 60s. As an experiment, I did not administer Ulcergard to Wizard tonight. The result? He seemed fine. Not sure what it means, but it’s noteworthy.

I groomed him quickly and turned him loose in the outdoor arena to let him stretch his legs. Lately, I’ve been riding without doing much if any longeing or liberty work so I wanted to change up the routine. Wizard followed me like a dog as I walked around the arena, peeking over the fence with me to watch the deer graze at the tree line, walking with me to investigate the jumps and barrels in the arena, etc. I asked Wizard to trot- he picked up a trot, and… WHOOP! He was out of the arena- what happened?!?!? My fault entirely- there was a showdeo at the barn today and the side gate must have been left open. I neglected to check all 4 gates before I turned Wizard loose. Wizard’s powers of observation clearly outweighed mine. My heart dropped as he slipped out the gate, but I relaxed when he stopped at a patch of grass. Calmly, I said, “Come here,” as I broke a carrot in half. Wizard turned his head toward me and then he was no longer a free man. Whewwww- my heart began beating again. As a reward for him being so good, I let him graze a few moments. I felt terrible about what happened- my oversight could have been very dangerous. It was a good lesson for me to pay attention to my surroundings. When I saw how calm Wizard was when I caught him, it made me happy that we’ve done liberty work together- he did not seem scared or nervous at all when I walked up to him when he was loose.

I put Wizard back in the arena, and he took several playful laps around at a trot and a gallop. At my cue, he would stop and trot toward me. He also ran through a few puddles of water that were left over from the rain a day ago. I guess he’s not afraid of water!


I saddled him up and rode for about 25 minutes. The footing in the outdoor arena is softer and deeper than the indoor arena so I made sure not to work him as long outdoors as I normally do indoors. I want his muscles to get used to the footing gradually. We worked on relaxing his topline and I worked on keeping my shoulders straight as I rode with a loose rein. I was able to ride figure 8s with a loop in the reins. At the end of the ride, we worked on walk/trot transitions- they were a little awkward but I think the footing had something to do with it. I’m sure they’ll get better each time. I also trotted Wizard through puddles a few times- he’s completely fearless about water. I remember riding through lots of puddles with Alibar– it ended up being a great exercise because we never had a problem with water at horse shows :^)


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