Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Encouraging Ride

I had to work kind of late so I had to change clothes super fast and get out to the barn. I rode during a lesson with three beginner kids, two lunging horses, and Charlie, so Junior had lots of distractions to deal with. He did REALLY well, especially when both Charlie and one of the lunging horses (a 3 year-old) both decided to start bucking right by us at the same time. Junior didn't even flinch. I saw him look, but he just kept moving and kept on task. At one point I realized Lori (packing one of the tiny girls) had her nose in Jr's ass and Junior didn't care. I suddenly realized that he no longer gets upset or tense when horses come up behind him or pass closely, either in the same or opposite direction. There was one moment when Lori sort of came at us from the side and pinned her ears and I got nervous because we were caught against the wall but Jr didn't do anything and Lori didn't do more than pin her ears and move along. That was one thing I was worried about with going to shows because he'd lose all concentration when he heard someone come up behind him.

The lope is coming along. I'm still getting the hang of keeping him loping without cueing him to go faster. It feels like a bit of a disconnect for me to keep my outside spur on him because he takes that sometimes as a cue to go faster or to turn in. I think part of that disconnect is that I'm still using my POW spurs (will be getting western clover-leaf spurs this weekend) and I think the western spur will feel differently to him (more like how KAT rides him) and maybe that's why I'm having cueing issues. His right lead is infinitely better than his left still.

I messed around with some pattern type work for a bit. He was listening so well on the rail and picking up his lope without shouldering in (suddenly) and there were three random cones set up in the middle. The lungers hadn't come in yet. I just went around the middle doing transitions at cones or going around them (I've heard not to ONLY transition at a cone because your horse might learn to hesitate whenever they pass them....though I'm not sure if they can see them...) from halt to lope and lope to jog and jog to lope and lope to halt, etc. He did really well. I was very proud of him. We're also working on keeping his head down at the halt and he's picking that up really well. He also did a perfect pivot on the hindquarters to the left and I scratched him and patted him and told him he was a good boy.

There was a lot going on in that arena and he stayed on task. His headset still varies a bit but KAT said his jog looks really really good. I got the show bill for the May 3rd show and I don't have to pre-register so I can see how he's coping with the show atmosphere before I sign up for classes. If he's a good as he was tonight and the patterns are simple I think we can even do Equitation/Horsemanship. I'm sure we won't place well, but the mileage is good for both of us.

This month is going to be insanity. I open my next theatre show on the 30th, we bring the horses to the showgrounds May 1st, watch the clinic on the 2nd and show on the 3rd. Then on the 4th my designs are due for my NEXT TWO theatre shows are due. That means that in the next 23 days I have to complete a show, design two more, build my western show blouse (fabrics are here!) AND get Junior and myself show ready. I didn't really think about the fact that all these things were going to culminate in a space of 5 days. So if I don't have many entries in the next month you'll know why!

I promise pictures of the blouse when it's done (or perhaps I'll have to show naked) and of course pictures from the horse show. Probably video, too if I can con someone into being my camera person.

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