Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 71...really? Yup. 71.

I got to the barn last night in the snow. I really hate snow. I moved AWAY from Minnesota. I wore my new fleece-lined-frumpy jeans and my new Mountain Horse paddock boots I bought last spring on clearance. I was only chilly when I first got to the barn, but after grooming and mucking I had to take my gloves and a layer off the top. I got chilled at one point during the lesson, but not bad. I think I'm going to make a weekend project out of making a liner for my helmet. I'm sure I've got some spare polar-fleece lying around.... And perhaps a reusable bit warmer....

Anywho. I took him out to lunge him as soon as there was some room in the arena. Only 4 little kids in a lesson and they were using 1/2 the arena. He did pretty well. He still stopped a few times but I made him continue. I'm still really uncoordinated with a lungeline. I know the principles of keeping the line free and how to let it out and bring it back in, but when he stops short and starts walking towards me it all goes to hell. If he just slows down I can send him right off, but when he fully stops, if I move him away too quickly he can come back over the loose line - that's how he ended up with it between both sets of legs and WTF do you do with THAT? But he has been moving off more calmly now, so that's good. I think he's figuring out that I actually mean it. Maybe I'M figuring out that I actually mean it. :)

When I finally asked him to stop and led him over to the mounting area he was still acting fresh, but I think it was because the other horses were coming into the arena and he was anxious to see them. He hasn't been turned out in a while because of the wet weather.

He mounted fine and moved off fine. I started him on flexing and lifting his shoulders...and realized very quickly that I had forgotten to switch my spurs to those boots. Boy did THAT make a difference! They're just little English POW spurs, but they work. He was still okay, I just had to work much harder to get him to respond. I've only ridden him without spurs one other time and it was the same way. Now that I'm much more stable with my legs we're going to get me into some western spurs. I have a big phobia of hurting a horse (mentally and physically) with spurs so I was not going to use them until I had my seat back and could use my legs effectively. I know the type of spurs I'll use are not very severe, but it makes me more confident to know I'm able to spur only when I mean to. No accidental bumping to confuse the horse.

Two of the lesson horses were having fits of terror on the lunge line. One was just zooming around and roaring. That one is one of Jr's turn-out buddies so he was very concerned about him and was picking up on his energy. I've found that if he can watch what's going on he's not upset, but when his back was to the horse he was very agitated. I stopped him and let him watch and he relaxed while I talked to him. I know he can't understand me, but I do believe in the effects of a soothing tone of voice. He doesn't do as well with silence. If I'm working alone he's more relaxed if I talk to him. When there's other people/horses around I don't need to.

Once he got over the two crazies on the far end of the arena he was fine. The lesson went pretty well, even without spurs.

I had planned on riding tonight, too, but I had a migraine this morning and went to the chiropractor for the first time in a year and a half and I'm REALLY sore. I've been using lots of muscles that forgot they existed since I've brought Jr. home and decided that I needed to have things put back where they were. He did a very weird stretch on my lower back and I'm really feeling weak there. He told me to ice it so I took that as a recommendation to relax it and not go make it work by riding. Tomorrow. I'll go back tomorrow. WITH my spurs.

1 comment:

  1. I think everyone has to figure out their own way of handling the lunge line. I used to coil it in my hand, but it was difficult to move it in and out as needed. Now I let the excess dangle the ground and I just flip it around my body. When a horse comes in, I move toward them at the side and flip the rope up toward their face aggressively--it usually moves them back out. And, letting it dangle like that--it's easier for me to keep it taut. If the rope gets under both legs you could be in for trouble--as I'm sure you've found out--because when they pull the head back and feel that under there--they sometimes go bezerko and yank the line from your hand and run off. Fun. That happened to me with my "rescue" pony. Last Spring my husband and I used to walk her with the dog up and down the street (we live in the country and can do that). Well, she stopped to eat grass--and looky there--she stepped over the loose lead line. I thought--oh, she's so small, even if she pulls up, I can get it back over and all will be well. WRONG. Someone came up from behind, scared her, the head came up, the rope was under there, her eyeballs popped out of her head, and she yanked it out of my hand in about a second. She ran through all the neighbor's yards to get home, with me chasing her. Embarassing! Thank goodness, she ran back to the barn. Ha ha. Now I'm a little more cautious and respectful.