Monday, March 22, 2010

What Do You Mean "Stay out of his way but help him...?"

An interesting thing with my beloved horse of mine will be trying to determine the proper prep he will need leading up to an event. There are times when he will have 2 days off (because unfortunately for me I have to work to have a horse, no work = no horse), where I will show up and be able to school 3 feet like it was cross rails...and then there are days like Friday where it seems like he hadn't gotten ridden for 2 weeks, not two days...maybe I shouldn't have booked a lesson...

SIDEBAR - The Pickle (as he is affectionately known because of his 'relaxed' state while cooling out), has only been jumping for about 8 months and there are times that I forget lesson on Friday was a good reminder.

So, Friday, we had a lesson and The Boss shows up, we get warmed up and the plan is to just jump every jump in the arena, both ways, nicely, calmly, in good rhythm. A couple of the girls had just painted ALL of the Stadium Jumps in lots of funky patterns, and knowing Chester likes to take a good look at things was prepared for just about anything...I was VERY proud of him, the only thing he looked at was a sort of crazy Zebra striped thing on the diagonal, he stopped about 3 strides away, shoved his head straight up and blew snot out of his nose...tantrum over, he then proceeded like it was no big deal. Next, "Okay, now do the outside line", it was about 7 strides (or 8 for Chester, because with this horse it is better to be bouncy and together as opposed to sprung out and on the forehand), and it was back to the Chester of 3 months ago, landing, getting heavy on the forehand and pulling me down the line...yeah - that first time, the 7 was actually 5 1/2. Bad. Bad. Bad. So, then The Boss says "You're getting in his way, stay off his back and let him find his strides. Stay out of his way, but help him out a little bit", one of the reasons I love Joyce so much is that I actually get it when she explains something to me...except in this case...I stopped looked at her and went 'huh?' Long story short, this horse is sensitive, VERY sensitive to how I ride, my weight, my balance, how tense I get....the more tense I am, the more tense he, we went back to our canter poles on a circle (at noon and 6) until we we quietly cantering and I was leaving Chester alone but helping him...holy...the rest of the lesson was fine.

Saturday and Sunday were good schools, he worked hard for 3 days and gets the day off today, he was a little tired yesterday, I could tell.

I think I will school Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday before the schooling show on Sunday...let's hope that regiment will be one I can stick too coming into the season.

More soon...!

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