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Selena Ride 19; Wizard Session 90: Big Orange Cones

September 2, 2009

The gallop is a four-beat gait

Tuesday, 9/1/09

Another gorgeous Jersey day! The only hints of the miserable bugs from the past few weeks are the leftover welts and scabs on Wizard’s legs, chest, and sides. The air is dry so everything is healing up quickly.

When the weather permits, the horses stay outside at night. My new system with Selena is to bring her in from her paddock and let her eat hay in her stall while I walk Wizard. This seems to be a good pre-ride routine. The past two days, she trotted toward me, which is always rewarding for a horse person :^)

I hand walked Wizard and was accompanied by two riders, who rode Mary and Miss Tuesday. We hit the Across The Street trails again and were out for between 30 and 45 minutes. At the end of the straightaway, we got to a sloped trail with lots of little “roller coaster” dips- this is perfect for Wizard, who needs hill work to build strength in his hind end.

We got back to the barn as it was getting dusky. I grazed Wizard for a little while, and put him in his stall for hay and Dengie while I worked with Selena.

I grazed Selena for a few minutes before our ride. I was out in the outdoor arena under the lights with my two barn buddies and had a fantastic ride! In order to focus my ride and improve my position, I took my barn buddy’s advice and borrowed a Parelli exercise (I have mixed feelings about Parelli work, but what I like best is that there is a clear plan for rides and ground work). We set up four traffic cones at four corners of a square on the size of a big circle. I started the ride by walking and situating my position. Then we rode the circle and halted at each cone, walking between them.

Cones on a Circle

Cones on a Circle

The exercise helped me to make my cues more precise and it helped Selena to learn to relax a bit because she recognized the pattern after a few circles. Then we played with the pattern, stopping every other cone, and sometimes walking past them. It helped me to refine my half halt as a precurser to the transitions and it helped Selena to learn to listen to me.

After the walk work in both directions, we began trot work. Selena was awesome! I think my position really helped her to relax and accept my requests to supple her. We walked from one cone to the next, then trotted to the next cone, and so on. Then we began skipping cones, and then doing transitions between cones. The exercise probably helped me more than it helped her, but it did wonders for getting me to focus and fix my position so I was actually sitting on my seatbones. Selena responded by relaxing her topline and stretching her neck. It was not a true stretchy trot, but it was relaxation and there was no resistance at all. Yahoo! What a difference a day makes.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2009 6:02 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how much better we ride when we know what we’re doing? I think our horse can relax and trust our direction more thoroughly if we have a firm idea of where we are going, what we are doing and what we expect from our horses. Given uncertainty, most horses will either take the lead or act out, or they will get nervy and jiggy. It sure sounds like the cone project worked well for you and Selena. Are those successful days golden? I bet so.

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