Lunging as the Sun Sets.

Reason in winter/spring 2010.  Showing off his fanciness.

I forgot to mention, following up to this post where I wrote we might go on a trail ride, over last weekend.  Well, we didn’t end up going.  The weekends are so busy and full of things to do.  Matt comes home on the weekends and it’s usually go,go,go until he leaves Sunday evening.  It just didn’t fit in there.  I’m crossing my fingers that sometime this weekend we will go on Reason’s first trail ride.  The weather is supposed to be much milder, in the mid 70’s and sunny.  Perfect trail riding weather if you ask me.  Oddly enough this dramatic cool-down, after the 100 degree weather yesterday, is the welcoming to rain, Monday through Wednesday, supposedly.  I guess summer had to give it’s final kick before it walked out for the year..

 In addition to a possibly trail adventure, we have to start and finish the expansion project of the horse’s shelter, aka the pony cottage.  We are making it twice as big, closing it in on 3 sides, adding rock under the entire thing and mats.  They will have a nice place to escape the rain, wind and cold while also have a good place to eat.  It will also double as a spot for grooming in the rain, with cross-ties.

Now about yesterday.  I need to get an update shot of Reason.  Can you say, hunk?  He’s looking so good!  He’s gained some weight and muscle and just looks lovely.  I can’t wait to see the top-line built up..  I think we’ve hit the sweet spot as far as weight goes though.

I lunged Reason over some poles and cavaletti last night.  I debated on that, or a ride.  I chose lunging because the thought of getting into those breeches, just didn’t seems too appealing.  And also because I wanted to see Reason move.  Again I enjoy so much watching Reason navigate his way through poles and cavaletti.  He’s so pretty and careful.  To see him use his body in the ways that these exercises would like, is such a sight.  He’s exuberant, but smart.  The engagement from the hind end was super last night. 

Poles and cavaletti are so much fun for Reason.  He just looks for them and sets himself up to go over them and does it with a sense of pride and sass.  Sometimes if we’re doing cantering exercises, he’ll throw a little post buck and proceed on to do it again with a big sense of accomplishment and excitement.  Yesterday evening when we were warming-up on the lunge, he was dragging.  It was HOT yesterday, so he was probably a little drained from that.  But once we started pole work, he lit up!  It’s like someone hit the ON button.  Suddenly he had energy.

I can’t wait to start jumping him.  Next year is my plan.  But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.  That is if he gets his flat-work going well..  He’s getting the prep-work for now, which seems to suit him fine.  Confidence building 101 too.  I guess my challenge will be how many ways can you set-up cavaletti and pole exercises..  

    

 

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Here we Are.

Welcome to my new blog, Diligent Horse. (I moved all Reason’s past posts from The Equus Ink, over to here.)  This is now Reason’s blog home.

If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of the heat.  Oh heat and I are not good friends.  But today was different.  It was hot, but I determined that I’d have to get over that in order to ride.  What was more surprising was that it was a choice to ride in the heat.  Normally I wouldn’t pass up the calmer, cooler evening time to take a ride, especially over the heat of the day, but not today.  Today was different.

I slipped on my breeches, pulled on my boots, grabbed my helmet and tacked up Reason.  Despite the heat, today was promising.  Not because I thought Reason was going to be good, no, I knew he was going to be good.  But the reason why it was promising was simply because I knew I’d be taking a good ride regardless. Heat or no heat.  I walked Reason around the pasture.  His first trip all by himself.  Then we trotted.  A couple things came to mind.

One of the things I thought about was how more confident Reason is.  Our lunging work has paid off.  Not only that, but because Reason has had Errika to snuggle up to when things get scary or boss around when he’s feeling cheeky and particularly cocky, has proved to raise his confidence to new levels.  He believes in himself and has confidence in leading his herd of one, protecting his mare.  He can gallop across uneven terrain (scaring his mom although) with freedom of space, time, movement and ease.  He can graze as he pleases and is never bored as it seems.  He feels the chill of the fog, the heat of the sun and can determine his own way of dealing with this (how horses choose their ‘spaces’ is a study all it’s own), mostly without the use of the shelter.  He observes and now manages his own space, including welcoming the then very scary cows, as part of his environment and generally just part of the scenery.  But most importantly, he now trusts me.  He now greets me everyday at the gate, walks with me to the other gate and welcomes me as part of his herd.

In the heat I’m riding and begin trotting down the long side.  We cross terrain with confidence, we ease and understanding.  I ride without a whip, without spurs, without gloves I let my bare hands and fingers hold onto the reins gently and allow them to rest between my fingers sans any real contact.  It feels good.

To ride a horse is a privilege, not a right.  Thanks Reason.

Cruise Control…Works!

I was able to ride Reason for the first time last Saturday, in a couple months.  We had plans to attend a horse event locally (not Reason.  My mom, Matt and I) but opted against it.  Instead we spent the evening riding!  Reason was a total trooper without second thought carried me around as we walked and trotted in and out of our “arena.”  Reason seems much happier living this new life and I think having no constraints of riding/lunging in an actual arena and riding in his own pasture has proved more comfortable for him.  Obviously that will be changing as we will be trailering out to a local barn for arena use soon, but I think it’s been a great way to re-introduce him to riding.

I’ve been continuing lunging over poles and introducing different cavaletti exercises as well, which I think has helped Reason’s confidence.  Going right for him has been sticky, but with the use of poles as a guide and slowly introducing other elements has opened that side up.

Now this weekend, may be Reason’s first trail ride, ever.  I’ve decided on a quiet, large, flat trail at a local park to take him to, but that is if there is enough time within this weekend to encompass that and also if I feel Reason is ready.  I know he is, but I do not want to over face him, especially with all the confidence he has built and trust in me.

In other news, I chopped Reason’s mane off, leaving a tasteful mohawk.  I think it looks great on him!

Moments Captured

Reason and I on Friday evening after a great groundwork/lunging session.  This photo kind of sums up the positive and great time we’ve been having.  A growing understanding and also the growth of trust.

Reason has never been so loving, as the moments like these seen in the photo.  I know he’s telling me, “kid, you’re on the right path.” or simply, “thanks.”

Even though I feel as though Reason is my little boy who is under my wing, I know I’m also under his.

Let the New Month In!

Someday, maybe, Reason and I will be cantering about, jumping and sharing some great rides.  I go to sleep at night hoping that this dream I have, will come true.  I think about it during the day and imagine.  Ah, how nice it would be to share that relationship with a horse again.. 

Reason is so athletic and hot..  But mostly athletic.  He shows off his quick and handiness potential as he swoops along at the end of the lunge line.  He’s ever so gentle with the lunge line and respectful of my wishes.  He gets worried when he’s unsure and his reaction is to go up and throw himself around.  Whenever he does this, I send him forward and on he goes with a new idea of how to handle himself.  The confidence and understanding is growing.

Reason’s right side is a bit locked up and he has more resistance on this side.  The lack of confidence is most apparent on this side, where he has no idea what to do with.  When I first started lunging him right, it was a difficult task, he’d get very nervous and react by going, up.  But through quiet requests and trust, he’s opening up and allowing me to explore the “dark side.”

Tonight when I lunged Reason, going right, he tried to evade me requests.  I have a small batch of tools that I use to get around this.  But no matter what, he must, must, go forward.  By the end of the evening, he was going right, quietly, much more comfortably, confidently and was beginning to open up. 

Only Reason will let me know when it’s time to ride.  I think I may try this weekend.  Of course on the lunge, just at the walk.  But we’ll have to see if it will be time for that.