An Update!

Well, here’s an update, since I’ve been lacking in my writing activities.

Reason and I!

Reason has been doing great! We have a new jump saddle coming (arriving today!) because my old saddle unfortunately does not fit. It’s been OK to get him going at best, but it’s time for something new and improved. I’ve never owned a new saddle, nor have I ever had one as nice as this one. I’m anxious to try it! Besides that, Reason has been hopping over baby jumps and learning more in the way of Dressage. He’s also get hind shoes put on for the first time since I’ve had him. He was doing fine with just fronts, but with the added work and jumping (and less than ideal footing), I just feel as if he’s not using the hinds like he should to propel him over the fences and push from. We’ll see how he likes them.

One notably different thing about Reason since I’ve had him is his mental maturity. Before when he’d get even the slightest overwhelmed in all his sensitive, hot horse body, he’d react strongly and often tip-off the deep end. As time went on, the reactions dissipated.  Under saddle he is a star, listening to me and me to him. On the ground he’s keeping himself together – Now he’s staying calm, relaxed and diving deeper into the work than ever before. In my head I imagine riding him through a course of jumps; the picture of balance, relaxation and focus.  I go into each ride imagining the horse I hope to develop him into. I’m pretty happy with his consistent upwards progress. I’ve often heard of, “one step forward, two steps back” when training young horses, but a good trainer in my mind is one who is constantly adjusting and flexing through the very moment in which the horse is being trained, those following and those before. I truly believe if you hone your skills, observe all the little changes and pay close attention to how the horse is reacting and communicating, you can always step forward.

I’ll be taking Reason to his first schooling show soon. Besides his buffer outings to play days, this will be his first real show experience. He’s been to these grounds before, and responded so well to being there, that I feel going into it I’ll have a nice, supple, happy horse throughout the show. My only goal is to use this as a tool and time to test how he’s really progressed and move on. Reason is a very mentally sensitive animal. If he has one bad experience, despite the large numbers of positive, he holds onto it strongly. It’s been a challenge to always be careful about how and what he’s presented with so as to make sure he comes out of each experience for the better. Pushing him through difficult things must be done and needs to be, but it’s how it’s done that matters.  Love my horse!

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Jumping Update & Reason.

Riding has been going really well.  I’m really getting back into a groove thanks to one very awesome little ex-racehorse and his owner who, with her years of experience and knowledge both in and out of the tack, have helped begin to mold me into a real, jumper rider.  In a couple months I’m now jumping 3’6″ with ease.   The last time I had this much fun jumping was back in my pony school days, but that doesn’t even compare to what’s happening right now.  My full jumping ability is starting to come out and I’m starting to become the rider I’ve always wanted and aspired to be.

Warm-up fence.
Cantering a couple weeks ago.
Trotting a couple weeks ago.

Reason is coming along well too.  He’s starting to open up and move forward.  I’ve started to ask for just a little stretching down and flexion here and there to keep him focused and he’s responding well.  But I truly think he’ll begin to come into the horse is really is, when we begin jumping.  He has to endure some more flat work before that starts, but at least we’re on our way.  I asked for the canter yesterday, since he was going so well, and I got the light in the front end, refusal, before he goes high-ho-silver, and backed off.  In hindsight I should have done what my friend said in response to a rearer.  But helping a horse work through rearing is not something I know how to do well, nor have I ever had any experience with a chronic rearer before.  I’ve taken my sweet time in listening, observing and maneuvering through this in a safe manner.  I’m starting to be able to predict when it’s going to happen and ultimately get to a point where I can prevent it from happening altogether, but Reason has been a bit of a loose cannon in that sense.  – It’s made it hard as he has been a more un-predictable mount.  But he’s a lot better than he used to be.  So we’ll keep working slowly but surely.  I believe in him and I know the horse inside, so I’ll just keep working with what I see down the road, and he should continue to come around.

“I raided mom’s closet. Do you think it fits?”
Reason and I two weekends ago.

So now for some fun stuff.  Here is a video of me riding Bax, the little Thoroughbred that can!  He’s a super jumper.  He’s green but he’s got GAME.  Most importantly he LOVES his job and lives for it.  Which makes the experience what it is.  What seems to be my biggest problem is the landing now.  I’m approaching the jumps much better and I’m getting all that pretty well, but the landing does need work.  For some reason I’m favoring my right leg and you can see my body wiggle to that side, therefore telling the horse to land on the right lead, which when we’re turning left, does not help.  I have to re-correct Bax for my own mistake on landing most of the time.  Other than that we’re getting better!  Hey Bax is always great, but I’m starting to pilot him much better and we’re starting to work more as a team.  He relies on me to get him to the jump and I rely on him to get us in the air.  I love him.