Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blu's Flying Lesson

Official Record Information:
2 hours

I have jumped 4' with confidence with Misty, but Blu is really not naturally gifted in the area of jumping. So far, we have achieved confidence in the 18''-24'' range. So, when we are jumping 2' on Blu, it's like jumping 4' with Misty.

I went into Blu's stall to get him because he had just been fed so I did not want to make him choose between me and his dinner. I let him finish before haltering him and taking him to the other pasture. There, I stood with him and itched him for a while before beginning my on line warm up.

For his warm up, I focused on purity of gait, then confidence jumping over barrels. While Blu was struggling to maintain the canter, I arranged two barrels in a jump with ground poles on either side of them so they would not roll around if he pawed them or scrambled over them. I used his recently masterd skill of slowing down with carrot stick wiggling at zone one so he could trot, walk, and stop during the circle. My assessment is that he could use some more purity of gait exercises at the canter, as he really struggled physically to maintain. Also, going to the right was easier than the left.

I changed from purity of gait to jumping over the barrels. Blu is not confident with barrels. He pretty much always tries to step over them one leg at a time. I won't try jumping him over them in the saddle until he does it on the ground. So, I sent him to it then waited until he asked a question. When he did, I would wiggle the Carrot Stick in zone one until he backed up a bit, then resend him. He progressively got more and more of his zones closer to the other side. The 3rd or 4th time he looked at me, I decided to reward all of his efforts with coming back to me. I leaned back and beckoned him. He looked forward over the barrels and creeped his zone 4 really close to his zone 2 and scramble/jumped over and trotted to me. How fun. I scratched him for a long time before sending him out on the circle. I did one lap where I pulled him between me and the jump, one lap where I pushed him to the other side, and on the third lap, I allowed him to line himself up and he went right over, very clean and proper.

Blu stood patiently tied while I set up the food on the barrel and set up two more jumps. When I got on, he was totally stuck. I put a savvy string on my wrist, but I never used it. I waited for a bit and asked again for him to go and he was more obliging. So, we were off at snail pace walk. I stopped at a cone and rested. We did point to point riding that way, and with in 5 rests, he was loping off. It felt really good!

During one of my point to point, the tire jump just happened to be there. He went right over, no hesitation or swerving. That was how the night went. He was also putting much more lift into it. It was a totally new feeling, like every jump was effortless. I tried the barrel, but we only got to the point of scrambling over and I accepted that. I tried to incorporate a barrel into the stansion jump after I raised it to 2', but that was not going to be doable tonight either, he told me. So, I took the barrel back out and just soared over the 2' jump. It was just so cool feeling. He was totally ok with going over multiple jumps before getting to visit the barrel, too.

I tied the savvy string around his front leg and led him back to the fence to unsaddle. Once he was naked, he followed me to the gate and I sent him through the gate and asked him to turn, face, and wait. Then I led him to the water trough and hand-carried water to him to scrub his sweat spot and chest. He also got a good drink. Then he followed me to his stall where I gave him some hay.

I am euphoric, right now. I was so tired: I worked for 10 hours today and in between shifts I worked at home and played with Misty. So, it has been a full day. I could have gone home, had a steak, and gone to bed. I am so glad I took this path.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

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About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving