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Wizard Rides 204, 205, 206: Because of the Wonderful Things He Does

November 30, 2010

Wizard

FIRST-EVER (intentional) FLYING LEAD CHANGE!!!!!!

Friday, 11/26/10

That’s right, we did our first-ever flying lead change! Recently, I had the chance to talk about riding with Alex Brown, equine advocate and exercise rider. I asked him about how exercise riders train racehorses to do flying changes. Feel, he said, is most important.

We had an incidental lead change back in July, but this one was on purpose. Any self-respecting non-horse person might not care one bit about this piece of news, but for me, this was HUGE! I rode Wizard in the indoor arena at night. We warmed up doing lateral work and a little trotting over poles. Once we got into our canter, Wizard had a nice groove going- he was balanced, relaxed, but still round and on the bit. We were cantering to the right and I did a figure 8 with him. At X, I changed the bend, channeled my inner Walter Zettl, George Morris, and Alex Brown all at once, and asked for the change. Wizard complied perfectly, changing in time with the stride with a clean and responsive flying lead change. It was THE BEST!!!!! Wizard is wonderful indeed.

Saturday, 11/27/10

This was the first time I longed Wizard in a long, long while. I was done shooting the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct and stopped by the barn on my way home. I was not dressed to ride but I wanted Wizard to get a little exercise and feed him his “protein shake” (aka his hay cubes and other assorted supplements). He has not forgotten a thing and he was actually better on the line than he used to be. My guess is that it was out of the ordinary and he’s more balanced so longeing was not so difficult for him. We kept it simple, mostly walking and trotting and just asking for a bit of canter in each direction.

Monday, 11/29/10

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr- rode outside under the lights after work. I was bundled up in multiple layers, but my face felt like it was going to fall off my head! The ride was short and sweet. I just did a light hack, barely asking for any contact on the bit and letting Wizard stretch and move out. As a result, our canter transitions were awful since he chased into them instead of smoothly transitioning from trot to canter. In order to have a reality check, I asked again for a flying lead change, same lead (right to left, which is a million times easier for me for some reason). It was not as stellar as Friday’s change, but he complied! Wonderful, wonderful Wizard.

We’re off to see the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
You’ll find he is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz there was The Wizard of Oz is one because,
Because, because, because, because, because.
Because of the wonderful things he does.
We’re off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
.

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