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Wizard Ride 179: The Lines You Amend

September 14, 2010

Monday, 9/14/10

OK, back to business. No more fooling around. I’ve slacked off with our ride plans and we’re not making the same sort of progress we were making at the beginning of the summer.

So I pulled out my copy of 101 Jumping Exercises for Horse & Rider for inspiration. I decided that raised trot poles were a good idea, so I set up four poles with two on the ground and two raised a few inches off the ground, one lifted on the left side and one lifted on the right (see photo). I also set up two poles on a straight line so I could practice circles (see diagram below).

I warmed up Wizard in the indoor arena, really trying to take my time. He was very responsive to my leg and felt “ready” for each transition. I walked him over the raised trot poles so he could get the hang of them. We did leg yields and a little shoulder-in at the walk, followed by stretching work at the trot. Then I asked for the same work at the trot, leg yield and shoulder-in. Wizard’s a little resistant to the left, but I also have a weaker left leg.

We trotted the single poles on a circle, then on two circles (circle right, take Pole one, circle again, take Pole two). Then I rode a serpentine, trotting over one pole, looping to the next, and then ending with the grid. Wizard was animated but responsive. We worked in both directions. He banged the pole once but was otherwise very careful with his feet. On the flat, however, I felt him stumble a little bit. I’m not sure if it was the footing or if a stone got to him. I checked his feet and there was nothing stuck in his shoe.

When Wizard was working on the bit a little better, I asked him for a canter, starting with the right lead. The first departure was a little jumbled but his canter was good. He’s now able to rate himself much better than he did in the past. I cantered him in a circle over the poles a few times and also did leg yield in each direction at the canter. Since he does not know flying lead changes (well, I suppose he did them as a racehorse ten years ago…), it’s pretty easy to get him to leg yield at the canter without mixing my messages. I asked for a second trot-to-canter transition and it was better. The left lead trot-to-canter transition was like butter! When I really hold him together, he can get the transition much better than when I chase him into it. We did more slow canter work and took the poles a few times. Once again, it felt like he stepped on a stone and he broke out of the canter in a really funky trot. I let him walk it out and asked for one more quick canter to end the session on a good note. I can’t put my finger on it, but he felt a little funny tonight. He was strong and responsive so it was not impacting his mood, but after 179 rides/sessions, I’ve got a pretty good feel when something is a little funny.

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