Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17- Ride #1

Geared up and ready to ride.
Super-hot day yesterday, a great time to work on "stand", since any break was more and more welcome. Did lots of work holding up his feet- cleaned each one twice, fussed over them and twisted, etc. His hooves are overgrowing the edges of the shoe, I'm glad his feet will be bigger than these shoes are, once allowed to grow more naturally. "Stand" lessons especially at each gate, where he was out of position ealrier in the week and got scared by the blowing gate.

Today I was excited to try to get on him. Lots of work on feet, including Rosie kicking the wall and making Sherlock spook and step on my foot. Left big toe purple and sore... Still we went back to the feet and lifted them all again. When he gets anxious I tend to make a big yawn and say, "so boring", and he starts to relax.

Tacked up- no arguing for the bit or during cinching up. I did notice Sherlock's saddle pad slides off to the right, same as his blanket. I am also heavier on the right due to my scoliosis. Might need a saddle pad shim or something to balance us both as I ride more. Chiropractor for me tonight.

Standing very well at the paddock gate, and at the arena gate. He didn't want to go in the round pen. Did some walk lunging to get drive from behind but he was still balky. Then I pushed the pen gate inside instead of pulling it out, and we went right in. Such a funny horse- when he's sure something is wrong he just doesn't give in.

Put him on the lunge line, and worked on voice commands. "Out" to move away from me and circle, "in" to stop and turn towards me. He gets anxious when asked to move out, I didn't want to push him as hard today with the sound of the whip as last time. Every time he looked at me I put the whip up in both hands, in front of my face, and said "out" or lowered it completely for "in".  This seemed gentle enough but understandable, and working to the left went well. But going right he was really sticky, trying to keep me under his blind eye by nearly coming over top of me. So I brought him back just to the walk and did tons of reverses. Asking to him to reverse when I saw he was going to anyway, supporting gently in the middle with whip position, and he got better and better, and calmer.

Then I brought in the plastic chair and stood on it and straightened the saddle pad, gave him lots of rubs all over the neck and shoulders. Leaned on the stirrups, let them down. Held on to the other side of the saddle and put my full weight on it. No problem, more scratches please. So I put the reins on, got my helmet on, and swung up. He stood for some more attention then walked off, got a little jiggy so I turned him to face the fence, and he snorted but then walked off well. I just sat there at first, then started steering a tiny bit, just letting him relax. He started to lengthen stride into a really nice relaxed low-headed swinging walk (perhaps I have found his perfect circle?), and after a minute I asked him to spiral in and stop, and I swung down.

Really nice first ride, maybe a video next time. I feel there is plenty more lunging work to do, and likely long-lining as well. My side reins have still not arrived. But these first lessons in riding are just for relaxation and I'm not giving him much hand to lean on, just barely steering.

Stood really calmly at gates going back, a bit reluctant to go back to corral but did fine. He wants to chew on my saddle- hasn't it been through enough? We argued about what wasn't chewable, which included my arm, so we need more discussion about mouthiness. Still he settled well and was sheeted up and enjoying a sloppy bran mash when I left him for the day.

Tomorrow no riding, Friday maybe, Saturday going to cabin in Idaho Springs for the day and night, Sunday returning and hopefully Skyping at the stable with little cousins who want to see the horse! Monday he has to be ready for the farrier. Maybe I come early and work him first that day. His sister Stars Collide was scratched from her race- I hope she's ok.

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