I rode her!

First, I have to tell you this – this is so cute. Drama, the POA, had her first jumping lesson tonight, so we had a small x set up with two ground poles spaced in front of it. I was going to see if Lucy would walk over ground poles, so I lowered the x to the ground and learned that not only will Lucy walk over ground poles, she will walk over them following me like a dog! All I had to do at the end was kiss to her and circle and she’d follow me back over. It was adorable.

So, I finally decided to get on her and I used the time-honored Cookie Distraction Method to do it. My friend fed her cookies, I got on. Worked GREAT. She did not move a muscle, even after I was up. Stood quietly, was only interested in my friend and the cookies. Hooray.

Well, bless Lucy, she pretty much told me everything I need to work on in the space of one short ten minute ride. I love it when horses are transparent like that. There is not a whole lot of steering and she massively overreacts to leg (like, spooks away from it like you goosed her). That’s a pretty comfortable zone for me – I’ve ridden a lot of horses like that and don’t have a problem staying quiet and leaving their sides alone. She’s really gate sour – one moment I was walking past the gate to the left and then, swoosh, we were back at the gate facing right. WTF? Kind of interesting to correct on a horse who won’t bend her neck and doesn’t like leg. I told her she was going to deal with some leg, but we were going forward and going to the left. She actually dealt with the correction pretty well. I felt like the first time I put leg on her it surprised her and she was a lot better after that, though of course I kept it as subtle as possible.

“Ho” is not a problem. We have “ho.” We have a nice quiet stand once stopped.

She wanted to follow the cookie-feeding friend, but she accepted being asked to part from her without any drama. She didn’t act spooky or “looky” at anything in the arena.

I didn’t want to do much the first time and just keep it short and positive, so I halted (far awa from the gate!) and dropped my stirrups in preparation for getting off. They must have tapped her in the sides because she jumped and tensed up. White eyes, scared again. Hmmm. I quietly recollected my stirrups and petted her. When she had settled again, I dropped them more carefully and slid off quickly. That scared her again, but I was definitely not leaving a foot in the stirrup on a horse that goosy about mounting/dismounting.

She’s broke and never felt potentially explosive when I was on her but either (a) she hasn’t been ridden since the track except for Stephanie and hence is still adjusting to rider legs being in that position at all or (b) she’s been spurred/scared. I did not feel at all like this mare was wanting to do anything bad to me. She was simply concerned about what I might do to her. She would relax pretty quickly every time I petted her and told her things were fine.

So, tonight’s ride makes our game plan pretty clear. We’re going to do some ground driving to improve the steering and also desensitize her to things touching her butt and flanks. Kind of thinking we may do it in a western saddle so that she adjusts to stirrups bonking her in the sides and comes to learn it’s no big deal. I think that she is a fast learner and will come around quickly, but I do think she has a little bit of that naturally panicky nature you sometimes get with Thoroughbreds, so we’ll go slow with her.

P.S. Drama pony was AWESOME about jumping! She LOVES it and will not even jump unless it’s a vertical…X’s are too easy and she trots them. This pony will choose to free jump when loose in the arena and not being chased. She’s got a real enjoyment of it and I am sure she will only go up from here!

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 7:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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