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Wizard Session 81; JR Sessions 36 and 37: Look what I can do!

May 31, 2009


Thursday, 5/28/09 and Saturday, 5/30/09

I’ll start backwards. Wizard got kicked by Indy in the paddock on Saturday. Indy is a cute and energetic grullo blanket Appaloosa.


The kick is on Wizard’s left front leg. There is just a tiny break in the skin and a little swelling on the side of the cannon below the knee. He walks comfortably on it. I cold hosed it and applied Nolvasan to it. The horses are turned out at night so I kept him outside so he could move around on it.

So that’s why I did not work Wizard on Saturday.

I rolled my left ankle when I was in Georgia. I took pretty good care of it, but I did not rest it enough. Less than a week later, I turned it again. And less than a week later (on Saturday), I rolled it again. So frustrating! Now I’m on more serious ‘stall rest’ and I am wrapping the ankle whenever there is a risk of turning it. I plan to treat it like a real sprained ankle this time. And I’ve been babying it with my Back on Track horse products :^) I need my A-game on Belmont Stakes Day.

Back on Track polo wraps

Back on Track polo wraps

I longed Wizard on Thursday. His gaits are improving with each session. When his trot was consistent and limber, I put his side reins on. The side reins were very loose but Wizard still did a LOT of chomping at the contact. Chomp, chomp, chomp. I let him work it out and eventually, he relaxed into the contact and began to relax his topline. I wonder if this is the key to our work under saddle as well. Maybe he will settle once he gets over his initial tension. The worst part is the risk of him being in real pain or reacting really badly. I guess we’ve got time to think it over since I need to nurse a sprained ankle. We worked on slow and forward trots, as well as spirals. Wizard gets a little tense on the circles but then he relaxes and works nicely. His back is a little long so it’s more of a challenge for him to collect than his smaller short-backed friend, JR :^)


Wonderful things are happening with JR. His gaits are improving dramatically. His topline is getting stronger. He no longer trots in paisley-shaped circles. We did have a comical moment on the longe on Saturday when he heard a herd of deer crashing through the woods and did a full circle around the longe line bucking like a rodeo bronc. It reminded me of the Stuart sketches in the Mad TV episodes when he leaps around and says, “Look what I can do!”

JR is learning to accept contact on side reins. Response to voice cues is improving- I can smooch for him to liven up his trot and we can do “virtual half halts” with voice cues and a touch of the longe line. I’m seeing a lot less bracing of his neck when he does an upward or downward transition. Work with spirals has been the key to JR’s improvement. His short back and nicely-set neck will allow him to collect when his work becomes more advanced. When I longe him, I can ask him to trot in straight lines and trot in square shapes. In my imagination, he’s like a little, chunky, golden Lipizzaner ;^)

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