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May 5, 2014: Horse Training: Good Rosey, Good Alys

Had another lesson last night. Beforehand, as I went about doing things on my seemingly endless list, I envisioned what the lesson would be like. There would be no distractions. The arena footing would be firm under hoof. The air would be dust free. It would be windless. Rosey (Beth’s name for Raudi) would be cooperative, focused, and eager to do as asked. A tall order for a short rider and a short horse. But I felt confident as I loaded her into our trailer.

And then. . . .

This time, there was now and then. The lesson began with me tying Raudi up to the trailer. Vickie suggested that I ought not feed her beforehand, and have her stand on a short rope. So this is what she did. I also used the hole-punch and made the stirrup leathers a notch shorter.

Once in the arena, I walked Rosie around, both so that she might get warmed and become cognizant of where the arena monsters might be hiding. She knew where they were, so this was no big deal. She walked calmly beside me, and stood still when I mounted up.

The lesson went very well. There were just two other riders present. We all first trotted in circles, first using half the arena, then encircling the entire arena. Then came obstacle work. This part of the lesson was easier than the previous lessons. We spent a lot of time going over poles, and went over a few small jumps. Doing this reminded me of asking Ryder to do easier stuff after more difficult problems. Rosey started out confident and happy, and she remained in this state of mind. My heels remained down, my head remained up, and I repeatedly grabbed onto the mane that Dog gave me for this purpose.

We took one corner (mid-arena) too soon and Rosey stopped in front of one jump. Beth took the time to explain to me and one other rider that our horses did this because they couldn’t see the upcoming jump. I commented that in such instances, smaller horses are at a disadvantage. They do have more room. However, their field of vision is the same as that of a bigger horse, so they too can come up short sighted at smaller distances.

Beth also remarked that we all had good rhythm, and noted that although she isn’t watching us all, all the time, that she is listening – and added that if something was amiss, she’d immediately attend to it.

Going over the poles seemed almost effortless to me, which was not the case in the previous few lessons. Back then, two weeks ago, the Shake and Bake factor seemed quite a bit higher.

I was having such a good time that I was sorry when Beth said that because Rosey had done so well, that we were done. But I knew she was right. Best to end on a good note because you can’t end on a bad one. But if I had my druthers, I’d take lessons for eight hours a day, six days a week. Of course, this would be on differing horses, because Rosey undoubtedly does not feel similarly.

I need to spend time looking at through my riding instruction books – and putting what I learn to practice in those moments in between being instructed. I also want to start using my noseband under her bridle – I’ve been using her halter. I very wisely have been introducing one equipment change at a time. This has worked well for us.

All during the lesson, my friend Heather watched. I later told her that I’d wished Rosey had pitched a fit so that she could see what at times I have had to deal with. But no, deep down I was really glad things went the way they did. I was so very proud of my horse and the fact that now it’s evident to others (in this case Heather, who has known Raudi since the Katie Long days) that we are indeed moving forward.

Next: 156. 6/6/14: Horse Training: Some Observations