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Wizard Rides 477, 478, 479, 480, & 481: Nature

May 14, 2013

No bit? No problem for The Wizard.

Oh boy, I did that thing again. I might be missing a ride in here somewhere, but this is basically how we spent the last week…

Monday, 5/6/13

Kris and I took Wizard and Sunny on a quick trail ride before work. Mostly walking with a little stretch of trotting.

Wednesday, 5/8/13

The weather conspired against me, and left the arena a little too sticky to do more than some simple trot work. It was a shame, since Wizard was feeling WONDERFUL from his Pentosan shot on Monday. That stuff is great- it helps him feel very fluid and very responsive to the aids (in a good way). We kept our work to straight lines and very large circles and ended our ride at dark. I tried to make sure to practice our work from our lesson with Lisa, since we have another lesson scheduled for next Friday.

Friday, 5/10/13

After work, Wizard and I headed out into the Assunpink for a quick ride before dark. Interestingly, I’ve come to the conclusion that he seems to ride best on the trails alone. I’m not sure if it’s a competition thing or a walking speed thing, but we’ve had some AMAZING rides alone this spring. Friday was no exception, and Wizard earned some extra carrots for his bravery.

We rode out past the log cabin and did some trot work on the “bowling pin” hill. As we crested the hill, I saw two deer at the treeline. The deer saw us, but were frozen. I could not tell if Wizard saw them, and I was afraid we’d get really close to them, flush them, and scare the horse. So, in typical Jersey Girl fashion, I hollered at them to move. I shouted, I waved my arms, I clapped my hands. Nothing. I hope they figure this out before hunting season!

When we got a little closer, they decided it was time to melt into the woods. As they left, I felt Wizard shudder, crouch to the right, but hold his ground. Before we could see it, Wizard heard a THIRD %^&*$&*@ deer, who bolted across this gigantic field RIGHT past us and toward his friends. The deer startled me as much as it startled Wizard, but to his credit, he kept his feet planted and just watched the wacky deer, who had 6,500 acres of wilderness to run free, come within a few feet of horse and rider. GOOD, GOOD Wizard!

I continued my Jersey-style yelling at nature when a cat refused to get off our path, telling him to get out of the way of the giant horse. Nature just doesn’t respect me. Maybe it’s because I broke the silence of a beautiful evening with my nagging of the deer and felines.

Sunday, 5/12/13

The folks at Jersey Fresh really lucked out with weather this year. Minutes after the cross country, the thunderstorms began. Saturday’s rain left the arena wet yet again, so I took Wizard out on the trails again after work on Sunday. Before I rode, I turned him loose in the indoor arena for a few minutes to let him blow off a little steam. He appreciated it, and leapt around like a fool. Funny, since he has a few acres of grass and a hill where he lives 24/7, but for some reason, turnout time in the arena is often playtime. We were chasing daylight (as usual!), and trotted all the fields on the way out and walked all the fields on the way back in. Wizard got an A+++ for the ride. He was willing, responsive, and it felt like he was enjoying himself. A year ago, he was not able to trot on the trails much without breaking into a tense canter. All our miles have helped him, and now he’s getting the hang of it.

Monday, 5/13/13

Before work, Kris and I rode in the outdoor arena. The footing was slightly sticky, but good enough for circle work and a few little cross rails. On the flat, Wizard was a bit of a bugger, ducking behind the bit and riding behind my leg during our warmup. The geldings in the adjacent field were in a tizzy over the cycling mares, and one was glued to the fence watching Sunny. Wizard was NOT pleased with this, and put on his best cranky face every time we rode anywhere on that side of the arena. It took a bit of focused work and changes of bend before he settled in and began to listen to me. Once he was on the aids, we trotted two trot poles to a tiny cross rail a few times. He bustled through it the first two times, but then we re-organized and had a much better attempt the last time. We moved on to a placing pole 9 feet before two cross rails one stride apart. Over the first line, I realized I was getting ahead of him, so when we took the second line, I really, really focused on my hip angle. I waited and worked hard not to duck or get ahead over the jump. I was rewarded with a perfect jumping effort, and Wizard was rewarded when I dismounted immediately after his excellent effort. I find that it is a nice reward for him when I occasionally jump out of the saddle immediately following a really nice effort like that.

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