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Wizard Rides 517, 518, 519, 520, & 521: Sarah Smiles

August 7, 2013

Wizard flies through the air with the greatest of ease...

As a kid, I remember August being the month with all the heat and all the bugs, but for the past few years, July has generally been the more brutal month. This is not to say there are no bugs in August, because there are PLENTY, but we just finished a really spectacular streak of amazing, clear, dry, pleasant weather. Perfect for riding, and really doing anything outdoors. Ahhhh. I’m happy. And I was also treated to a streak of five really nice rides.

Wednesday, 8/7/13

This time of year, there is enough light to ride in the outdoor arena until a little after 8:30, maybe slightly later once our eyes are adjusted. Wizard and I rode for about 40 minutes, starting with a forward walk in each direction, and then just a short jog before I popped him into a canter as an experiment. The experiment was a success: we were able to do about 10 minutes of fairly smooth cantering- he threw a halfhearted kick or two, but settled right in and felt more balanced than usual. In a ring, 10 minutes is a long time! The work we’ve done at the canter on the trail has definitely helped our ringwork. He picked up both leads, and his transitions were smoother. I kept my position pretty light, almost in a half seat for much of the canter work. We rode along the rail, and also did 15 and 20m circles and a few “squares.”

After the canter work, he was pretty loose through the back, and felt really nice on the bit- more thoughtful chewing and less of the fiddling he sometimes does. I took a line of cross rails once, and a single cross rail once in the middle of our trot work. We practiced shoulder in, leg yields, and did some big-trot-little-trot work.

While we cooled out, I worked on shortening the reins after having them at free-walk length, since he sometimes bunches up when I do that. After a few times, his mouth was quiet and his walk was smooth.

Nice ride! I’m really happy with his recent progress. Only thing I’m not thrilled bout is that he stumbled a few times (maybe 3?). I’m not sure if it’s related to him not getting his Pentosan (there’s a shortage right now) or the fact that the arena was a little on the sandy side.

Monday, 8/5/13

The late Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale meant that I had a morning for riding before I went into work. Christie and I hit the trails for another adventure. After warming up at a walk for a little over a mile, we came to the long, straight field where we can move out a little. When we reached the field, someone was hand walking his horse. Wizard should have known all about that since we hand walked all winter, but he gave a big goofy spook when we went around the corner. Poor Brigid followed suit dutifully, and sort of scampered out of his way. The whole thing was over in a flash, and Wizard was back to himself.

We got to the half-mile straightaway and picked up a canter. Wizard felt GREAT. He was super light and bouncy and responsive. Partway down the straightaway, so we opened up into a hand gallop, which was FUUUNNNNN. Brigid forged her own path halfway down the straightaway and sort of shimmied into the underbrush, amongst peals of laughter from both of us. Once she got back on the path, we kept going. Wizard never felt out of control or anxious at all. He felt willing, bright, and FUN to ride.

After our cantering set, we walked the rest of the ride, around the edge of the Horse Park cross-country field, and up the road to the lake for a drink and a splash in the water. Then, we wandered our way back to the barn.

Fun, fun, fun.

After a great test

Sunday, 8/4/13

After watching Kris and Sunny have an absolutely fantastic showing at the Helping Hearts Benefit Dressage Show (congratulations- you earned it!!!), I left feeling inspired. I also left the show wishing I had brought Wizard and ridden in it. I thought we weren’t ready, but the environment was less stressful than the Horse Park, and I think he could have handled it.

We rode in the outdoor arena with Christie and Brigid, and after a warmup with some really nice canter work, we popped over a few jumps. I finally got around to raising the poles two holes higher than our usual little tadpole jumps, and Wizard took them in style (see photo above). He actually hit one rail at the beginning, and that was the LAST one he came anywhere near with his careful feet and legs. I’m really proud of how he looks in the photo, and I think we can start moving forward a little with our work over fences.

After our arena work (about half an hour), we hit the trails for about an hour. We cantered up the main road by the “bowling pin” hill. We are just cantering fools these days, aren’t we? A far cry from even a few weeks ago. We meandered through some loops and had a nice ride.

Saturday, 8/3/13

Wizard and I went out for a solo trail ride. We trotted at the beginning and walked the final half- we were out for about an hour. He was a little looky at some silvery branches, but he held his ground like a trooper when we flushed two does- they took off across the field in hopes of attracting us away from their fawns. I could hear the fawns in the bushes, and we carefully rode around them. For the most part, Wizard is really sensible about things like deer.

Friday, 8/2/13

Kris and Sunny had their last pre-show lesson with Carole, and I hacked Wizard around the arena while they rode. Wizard was in a very mellow mood, and gave me a sweepy, low-headed trot. He was soft but steady on the bit, and responsive to my leg. If only he was always so loose and mellow. We popped through a little gymnastic line to show Carole what he looks like over fences. Wizard took me by surprise with just how soft, quiet, and round he took the line, and just about jumped me out of the tack. I was prepared for a quicker approach, but he loped up like a seasoned lesson horse. He had every opportunity to run out on the jumps, but he took them honestly, and was rewarded for his efforts.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alise Lamoreaux permalink
    August 13, 2013 12:57 pm

    Wizard is looking so good. Great to see and read about his development with you.

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