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JR Ride 47 (and a quarter)

July 2, 2009

No you can't...

No you can't...

No you can't...

Tuesday, 6/30/09

I’ve learned that a key to working with a green horse is to try to keep at least a step ahead of him at all times. That way, you are able to guide the horse and engage his mind. One of my biggest flaws as a rider is my occasional lack of a ride plan. This journal has helped to encourage my creativity. I let the creativity slack a few times recently with JR and he decided to occupy himself whenever I did not entertain him :^) If I am not engaging his mind, he gets distracted- it does not help to be frustrated when this happens because a) he’s a HORSE and b) I am responsible for his schooling. There is a big difference between JR’s reaction to deer in the woods while his mind is engaged and JR’s reaction to deer in the woods when he is simply motoring along. As I increase my saddle time, I need to keep this in mind.

I turned JR loose in the arena for about ten minutes before our session. As indicated by the photos above, he was delighted with the opportunity to romp, kick, buck, leap, twist, contort, scamper, and play. He’s a young horse with a big sense of humor so I think a little playtime is good for him. He longed nicely in the outdoor dressage court. I did not do any work with spirals because I did not want to become too repetitive with the mental or physical demands of the exercise. Instead, we worked on transitions and responding to verbal cues. He did break into a canter a few times from the trot on his own, and even broke into a few playful cartwheels, but otherwise he was good on the longe. The biggest challenge was keeping the circle round when he got distracted.

After we longed, I did about 5 minutes of work at the mounting block. Almost every shred of his sour attitude at the mounting block is gone. He stood like a stone when I got into the saddle. He rode like a perfect gentleman. Because it was dusk and I knew there were likely a few deer crashing around in the woods, I engaged JR’s brain, circling, changing footing, walking up an incline and back down the incline.

My ankle is feeling pretty fantastic with just a few exceptions. I am beginning to wonder if the Mountain Horse paddock boots were to blame for the sprained ankle in the first place, since I never sprained my ankle before and I always wore Ariat before. The heel is a little taller in the Mountain Horse. They are great for riding, so I hope to hang onto them a little longer and maybe I can get acclimated to them.

The ride was short, low-impact, and sweet. I dismounted from the right, both for my ankle and to continue to do new things with JR.

I had hoped to longe or sit on Wizard’s back, but he was not-quite-right on the longe. More waiting…

Wednesday, 7/1/09

Sunny day all day long. Until I was 5 minutes from the barn. I hurriedly tacked JR up and brought him out to the arena. We longed for about 5 minutes before the rain was too steady for us to stay outside, not to mention the thunder and lightning. We headed for the indoor arena in hopes of continuing the session, but the arena was packed with all the other horses and riders who were avoiding the rain. If there were a few people in the arena, I would have gone in, but it was a full house.

I tried to wait the rain out to no avail. I untacked JR, gave him a good grooming, and put him to bed. More rain. I gave Wizard a good grooming.

More rain. OK- I can take a hint… I called it a night.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2009 3:21 pm

    I love your attitude about understanding the nature of your horse. I only wish more riders had your perspective! All it takes is a little playtime to make a training session go well and a bad attitude on the part of a rider can ruin even the best horse. The variety of “distractions” and engagements you use are exactly what more riders should use. Getting on a horse without a plan is a plan for disaster.

  2. July 21, 2009 3:30 pm

    Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, Anne! It’s a lot easier to keep track of these bad habits while working with a trainer than it is working alone. While my ankle recovers, I’m not taking any lessons so it’s up to me more than ever to take care of keeping JR busy. Clicker training, turnout, and changes in routine keep him interested and happy. Thank you for your thoughts.

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