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Wizard Rides 487, 488, & 489: Bummer in the Summer

May 26, 2013

No bit? No problem for The Wizard. He takes his cross rails much more seriously than his friend Sunny does.

WHAT is going on with this weather? Remind me next year that it was so cold and rainy that the horses had to wear sheets on Memorial Day Weekend in 2013. Where is summer?

Tuesday, 5/21/13

Before work, I rode Wizard in the arena. I took him through all his paces, warming up at a free walk, then working on a large circle at a trot, then working on transitions between walk and trot. We worked on serpentines at a walk and a trot, and then popped over the cross rail a few times, followed by a gymnastic line with a pole to a cross rail with one stride to a 2′ vertical. We then worked on just a few canter departs, which were still rough, but I felt a little improvement.

Wednesday, 5/22/13

On account of all the ticks we have in New Jersey, I applied Frontline spray to Wizard’s legs and tailhead. He had a few crusties on his tail, and I’m guessing they are bites. My vet advised applying the spray every two weeks.

We rode on the trails as the sun set. We only went 3.68 miles (walking and trotting) because we were battling darkness. Wizard was responsive, but pretty keyed up, and was on alert for every little sound we heard on our ride. He walked home nicely, and was a good navigator when we had to get through an unfamiliar treeline gap.

Saturday, 5/25/13

In the evening as the weather changed from cold and rainy to milder and blustery, I rode Wizard in the outdoor arena. Before I rode, I turned him loose in the ring. He ran and ran and ran, tail flagged, snorting merrily. He enjoyed the run.

I tacked him up, and warmed up at a marching walk on a loose rein, followed by trot work in half the arena. The wild wind had Wizard on his toes, and he was a hot ride. He was responsive and forward, but did not have a lot of step in his gaits. He did the “sewing machine” trot for a lot of the ride. The wet arena did not help his stride length, either, despite the face that I saw him gallop around the arena like Secretariat while he was loose ;^)

We did our walk-trot transition work, but it made Wizard curl behind the bit. To get him back on the aids and to open his throatlatch a little, I added some lateral work to the repertoire, with leg yields and shoulder-in at a walk and trot. We trotted over the little cross rail just a few times to spice up the ride, and leg yielded after it.

I also worked on a leg yield from the quarter line to the rail, with a canter depart when we reached the rail. This exercise really gets Wizard on the outside rein and keeps him on a nice bend, which gives us a better transition to the canter, and a better chance of picking up the correct lead. The right lead transitions were best, interestingly, since left is usually his “quiet” lead. But on the left lead, he threw one fair-sized buck, followed by a few slightly better canter transitions. Practice, practice, practice.

He was pretty keyed up from all this “exciting” work, so I played quite a bit with getting a walk out of him without him curling behind the bit or chewing too frantically. It took a while, but he was back to some semblance of relaxed by the time our ride ended.

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