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Wizard Session 79; JR Session 34: Busy Wizard

May 23, 2009


Thursday, 5/21/09

Pedicure day for the boys and for the little black mare :^) Wizard got new shoes and Mary and JR got their feet trimmed. The farrier was happy with everybody’s feet.

I longed JR in the afternoon for about 20 minutes. He worked in a bridle and a surcingle, mostly with his head free but for about 5 minutes, we increased the workload with my single side rein gadget. The side rein gadget is one side rein, clipped to the bottom ring of the surcingle between the front legs. The top is clipped to a piece of leather or baling twine that connects the two bit rings. I like this gadget because it seems to help the horses learn to work the base of their necks instead of compressing the neck with traditional side reins. I think the sliding side reins have a similar effect but I’ve never tried them. JR got a nice workout and seemed to enjoy the session.

I visited my local feed store and picked up Vitamin E and Selenium crumbles for Wizard, as well as Quiessence (a magnesium supplement).

I longed Wizard for 20 minutes with a similar workout to the one JR got. He sweated less than JR- I think his body type has a little more endurance. He was a little reluctant to go to the right and stopped a few times, but he also gave me a really, really nice canter to the right. Of course, I had not asked for it, but because it was so balanced, I let him go around a few times. It was the nicest canter I’ve seen so far.

Both horses grazed a while and had their dinner and hay.

A few hours later, we had a free jumping session. Unfortunately, I did not get very good photos, but it was a great night. JR started with poles on the ground, then graduated to cross rails and a little vertical. He is a little clumsy with the jumps, but he’s quite game. I think his coordination will improve with more sessions.

Miss Tuesday had her first free jumping session. The first time the horses free jump, the main goal is to get them to understand the pattern (trot or canter quietly through the chute, take the jump, and relax after the jump). Tuesday was quite creative :^) After hopping backwards and over one of the guide fences (which is WAY higher than the little cross rail), she picked up on the pattern. She only went over about 4 jumps total, but it looks like she will have very nice form with tight knees and a round back. When Tuesday leapt over the barrier rail, everybody was so surprised that we burst into laughter. “Give her a cookie,” I said to her owner, “give her all the cookies!”. Although she jumped the side chute instead of the front jump, it was an honest effort and I think it’s more important to see a horse willingly trying something. Right and left can be refined in the future :^)

Mary the Morgan was up next. She was Miss Calm and Collected. It is really fun to see her progress because she’s such a quick study and she thrives on changes in routine. I especially like how relaxed she stayed through the chute. She never turned a hair. Mary also jumped cleaner and higher than she has before. The highest she jumped was about 2’6″.

Last up was Wizard. He completely exceeded my expectations. We only did the poles and cross rail about two times before moving up to the vertical. Each jump was perfect and he sailed over with lovely form. Remembering the last time he free jumped, I was not sure if I wanted to go higher. His limit was 2’6″ last time and when the jump went higher, he hit the rail and seemed a little worried. But Thursday night, I decided to try it again,. Free jumping is a perfect example of training plateaus. Each new session can start one step back from where the last one left off. And since I only free jump about once a month, the horses get a lot of training between sessions. So we did 2’6″ Thursday night and Wizard was a pro. So I raised it to 2’9″. The first time, he hit the pole and knocked it out of the cups. Hmmmm. Do I try it again or make it easier for his confidence? Hmmmmm. I tried it one more time. And it paid off! Wizard got a little excited in the approach and I was able to slow him down with just my voice. “Eaaaasssssssyyyyyyyy,” and with that, he rated. And then he SAILED over the jump! He’s learning how to approach jumps and how to coordinate his feet. With his newly pulled mane, he looked like a nice little hunter when he jumped.

I beamed with pride as I asked Wizard to stop, gave him a cookies, and cooled him off. Busy Wizard had new shoes, a longeing session, and a free jumping session. I think I was even more proud that he rated with a voice command than I was of his excellent jumping effort. With Wizard, it’s very important to communicate frequently and reassure him when he’s nervous. He becomes quite brave when he is confident. Our communication has become quite refined on the longe line and at liberty. I’m itching to see how he is under saddle. I hope to try riding him again next time I’m at the barn.

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