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Wizard Ride 247: Crazy Rhythms

June 17, 2011

Wizard = enthusiatic jumper

Thursday, 6/16/11

Wizard and I had our first riding lesson since this winter. After warming up, we focused on the goal of the lesson, which was rhythm and adjusting Wizard’s stride while keeping him focused and relaxed.

The FIRST thing Carole noticed was weakness in my right leg. It was loose and I was not sitting straight in the saddle. We worked on adjusting my position and focusing on where I am putting my weight. I need to work on closing my fingers, and using the upper inside of my calf instead of cheating and curling my lower calf on Wizard. My leg is bowing instead of sitting securely on his sides. I need to put more weight on the inside of the ball of my foot to balance out my weight.

Wizard & Me

We started out trotting two outside lines with two poles each. The poles had about 14 trot steps between them, and when Wizard was loose and I was riding forwardly, we got the strides each time. If I jammed up the trot or Wizard missed the distance, we added a step. Wizard stayed wonderfully relaxed through the trot work. Carole added a few poles and we trotted 3 trot poles on one line.

Wizard & Me

As we added lines of trot poles, Wizard settled nicely into the work. I felt him sit on the bit contact much more consistently than he did in the past. We are both really getting better with rein contact.

Wizard & Me

After the trot poles, Wizard and I trotted a cross-rail. For the first time ever, he trotted it!!! Usually he leaps, but all the trot poles seemed to give him confidence to trot the jump. We trotted the single a few times, and then trotted a line of two cross-rails, trotting in and cantering out and then stopping a little before the fence. I worked on establishing my rhythm long before the jump so I was not micro-managing him right before the fence.

Next, we graduated to trotting in to the first jump, cantering out, and then doing a simple change at the end of the line and cantering a single pole on the diagonal. For Wizard, cantering poles is more of an ordeal than jumping. He leaps, he rushes, it’s a production. Our first simple change was not great, either. But he beauty of a lesson is having someone on the ground who can coach you through a sticky patch. Carole worked with me on the timing of my leg aid to pick up the correct lead, and Wizard settled over the pole after a few tries, and a LOT of half-halting on my part. Whew- I got my money’s worth!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2011 1:44 pm

    Sounds like SUCH a productive ride. I love how aware you are of your position and how it affects your horse.

    • June 18, 2011 2:30 pm

      Thanks! I learned tons about position doing dressage with Alibar, my dearly-departed first horse. After he was diagnosed with navicular changes in his early 20s, I went back and totally stripped down my equitation and his bitting. He went from a rushy jumper in a kimberwicke to a balanced horse who could be ridden with no bridle at all. We did training level dressage shows until he was 28 years old. Auditing Walter Zettl clinics really changed my way of seeing things, too. Being mindful of position and of the horse’s movement really makes a world of difference.

  2. June 21, 2011 7:49 am

    You guys look fantastic.

    Speaking of the Feelies, did you see them when they were in town?

    • June 21, 2011 2:35 pm

      Thanks! I wish I saw them, but did not. Did you? I saw a few video clips and theit looked like a great show.

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