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Wizard Ride 164: Where is my Mind?

August 3, 2010

Monday, 8/2/10

A beautiful system of cool, dry air came blowing through central New Jersey today. The outdoor arena footing was lovely and was holding a bit of moisture from recent rain. It was a perfect night to ride outside in the big arena under the lights.

We warmed up for about 5 minutes on a loose rein at the walk and then worked into a trot, also on a loose rein. I asked for serpentines on a loose rein and we rode some figure 8s. Wizard was really stretching into the bit. Sometimes, when he gets really long and low, he slows down so I tried to keep the tempo consistent.

During the ride, I found my mind wandering and I was not really asking for focused exercises. So I doubled my efforts and we finished the ride with far more purpose than we began it.

I was finally able to do an excellent exercise that was given to me many months ago: ride down the quarter line at the trot, leg yield to the wall, and ask for a canter at the wall. It helped to get Wizard on the outside rein, and it also boosted up our impulsion a few notches without pushing him too hard. It worked beautifully, and he only needed two tries to pick up the “hard” lead, his right lead. We took three laps around the arena at the canter and then did the same exercise to the left. And he nailed the correct lead! We did three laps, and I focused on my equitation, making sure my hand was following the bit and my leg was stable and strong.

We then moved on to some more trot work. We rode serpentines, transitioning to the walk at each change of bend. I then asked Wizard for a forward trot on the straightaways, followed by a “stretchy circle” in each corner, smaller than 20 meters, maybe 15m. To close out the ride, I asked for one more canter on the right lead. It felt relaxed and focused. I had gotten my wandering mind onto the task and Wizard responded nicely.

After our ride, I was fussing over him on the cross ties- on a lark, I attempted to pull his mane. In the past, he objected stridently to mane-pulling and I was forced to scissor the mane to look as much as possible like a pulled mane. But tonight, he decided it was okay. We’ve been working together for a little less than two years, and I find it fascinating that tonight was the night he decided he could trust me with mane-pulling. Perhaps it means he is ready for a horse show :^)

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