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Wizard Rides 471, 472, 473, 474, 475, & 476: Big School

May 4, 2013

This kinda tells the whole story of our schooling adventure at a local dressage show on Sunday... Me: "Thanks for not bucking me off today." Wizard: "I wanna go HOME!"

Wednesday, 2/24/13

After work, I hustled to the barn and rode Wizard out in the grassy paddock behind the outdoor arena. We’ve never ridden in that field before, and it was a great exercise for our upcoming schooling session at the dressage show on Sunday.

Except he pulled his left front shoe about 10 minutes into the ride.

Note to self: don’t ride anything faster than a walk on the grass with this horse.

Thursday, 4/25/13

With Wizard’s new shoes on, I rode in the arena with Kris and Sunny. We worked on our lateral exercises at the trot, and I decided to do some canter work with him. It was the most we’ve cantered so far since I got the saddle. It was good, and bad, and sometimes ugly, and then good again. We got a pretty good canter going to the left, and then ti took a bit of doing to get the same result to the right. He likes to throw his hind end to the inside of the circle to the right, so I worked to keep him straight. We ended on a good note, with a promise to do more canter work again soon.

Friday, 4/26/13

I took Wizard out on a trail ride out in the park. We did our usual trot work in the long, flat field, and were out for about an hour, walking most of the rest of the way.

Saturday, 4/27/13

Wizard and I had a really nice ride on Saturday. We did quite a bit of work on our bending and lengthening our trot. Hopped over a few cross rails and trotted over poles. Ready to roll for the schooling session on Sunday. I gave him a bath and cleaned my tack for our big day.

Sunday, 4/28/13

The big day was finally here! Wizard never schooled at a show before, so I got a schooling pass for a little dressage show at the Horse Park so I could see how he felt about the show environment. I parked my car at the Horse Park with all my post-ride stuff, and walked back to the barn. Once we were tacked up, Wizard and I hacked back to the Horse Park, which is a little over a mile from the barn. He was perfect for the entire ride over, even when we got to the cross country field, where the Jersey Fresh jumps are set up. We rode through the trailer parking area and into the schooling ring, and I felt really good about him.

And then, he lost his mind.

We warmed up at a walk while we waited for Lisa (we were having a mini lesson in the schooling ring). Wizard got more and more agitated by the show environment. I kept him in about 20 meter circles, but he started waggling and swaying and pitching a little like he wanted to buck. I dismounted until Lisa arrived. Wizard could not keep his feet still. He danced and whinneyed a few times. Once Lisa arrived, I remounted and we worked in the ring.

I knew we were in a spot of trouble when Lisa called out, “A bucking strap might be helpful next time!”

Oh geez. We were that horse and rider you see at every show. You know, the ones who are looking a little like they’ve never been to a show before. I’ve been to a zillion shows, but Wizard is quite green about this all. He was very, very agitated.

Schooling at the Horse Park

I’m so glad Lisa was there, because we were able to get a little bit of a good trot in each direction and an actual stretch at the walk before we ended on a good note. Wizard settled when I SAT in the saddle instead of hovering above it. He also settled when we leg yielded in and out on a circle. When he slung his head down to buck or porpoise or whatever he was trying to do, Lisa asked me to give him his head and not pull it up. She is all about subtlety and gentle riding. She’s a REALLY good match for us, because she understands Thoroughbreds. She got both of us unfrazzled. We weren’t able to ride anything bigger than a 20m circle around her before Wizard hopped around again, so we kept the “bubble” around her.

Schooling at the Horse Park

The moment he settled and swung his back a little at a walk, I gave him a pat and dismounted. We were both exhausted. Wizard was so fried that his eyes were a little bloodshot. We weren’t working very long at all, but he looked like he had just run a race.

Mission accomplished, but now I have to decide if I really want to keep putting all this training time into getting him ready to show. It’s a big commitment, especially since it took close to 5 years to get us to the point we’re at now with our training.

I hand walked him home, most of which was him dragging me to the barn. He got a good hosedown, a probiotic paste, and an electrolyte paste, and then was fed and allowed to just chill out for several days.

On Tuesday, the vet came out to do his spring shots, and check the growth in his mouth. She said the growth looked a little bigger and advised doing a biopsy.

On Thursday, she called with the VERY good news that the growth is NOT cancerous. BIG sigh of relief. Now we just need to keep an eye on it. Right now, it’s not affecting his eating and it’s nowhere near the bit.

Saturday, 5/4/13

On Saturday, I tacked Wizard up in his LG Bridle and had a pretty relaxed ride in the arena with Kris and Sunny. We walked and trotted, and did some bending exercises before we hopped over a few little cross rails. One was two trot poles to an x, and the other line was one placing pole, then 9 feet to the first x, then 18 feet to the second x. He took both lines really well. He must have enjoyed his little vacation.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jane (Cheddar) permalink
    May 8, 2013 1:27 pm

    Just wanted to say hi. Keep on working at the issues, it is fun to go to a show and win, it is more satisfying to make the horse deeply ok where ever he happens to be. Sounds like you have a great coach.

    • May 15, 2013 4:52 pm

      So great to hear from you, Jane! Thanks for stopping by. “Deeply ok” is a great phrase for our goal. I should change the name of the blog to that, actually, come to think of it ;^) Once Wizard is deeply ok with something, he is willing, forward, and game. I need to decide how important shows are to me, and whether or not I want to commit the time and money to the goal, or instead work on other goals, like improving our work on trails.

      And yes, it’s very rewarding to work with Lisa. She has a great background in dressage, as well as an excellent “feel” for the mind and heart of a Thoroughbred.

      I hope all is well with you and yours.

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