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May 2, 2015: And Down

I decided to go to lesson on the drive home from the dentist, which is if I got a brief rest beforehand. I did. And after an hour I was only partially numb. In retrospect, I should have blown it off. Why I did not is now beyond my comprehension.

Beforehand, I tired Raudi up to the hitching post, in order to give her a last minute brush over. The truck and trailer were in the adjacent driveway, and Pete needed to turn them around, so I put her back in the pen. Raudi then walked into the paddock area and began racing around. I followed, and she began racing around me, in

essence, free lunging. I went and got the lunge whip. She went both ways, walking, trotting, and cantering.

This in my mind indicated that Raudi was able to discern two things. The first was that she needed to expend some energy. And secondly, that she knew she needed to do this before we went elsewhere. Most horses don’t have a clue. Raudi, I realized, is actually a very smart horse.

Once at Beth’s, I decided that she was attentive, but not reactive. I tacked her up, led her around the arena and then got on her. After walking a bit, I asked to her to trot. She complied. Beth then told those of us who were in the arena to take a break, so that Jack, her horse, and June Bug, Vickie’s horse, might expend some energy.

In the meantime I struck up a conversation with two other riders. I momentarily put Raudi in the round pen, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with her dancing around while I talked. This, I later realized, was a good thing to do for it showed that I was acting in both of best interest. She and I both hung out – Raudi’s remaining calm was to me an indication that she was energy wise, ready to go to work.

Once in the arena, I joined the others who, under Beth’s tutelage, were warming up their horses. Raudi did well, walking, trotting, and cantering when asked. The word was then that we were all to go over the poles and cavalletti that had been placed next to the arena fence. Raudi balked the first few times. I did as Beth had previously said, and used my legs and crop while at the same time releasing the reins and holding on to her mane with my hands. The first few times she walked over the jump. Then the next few times she went over it. I of course praised her for her effort, and when Beth wasn’t looking, gave her a treat.

Beth then told the other seven riders that they’d be going over the grid, a straightaway consisting of poles and cross jumps. Raudi and I were to continue to go over the same poles and cavalettis. I was okay with this because Beth was right in her thinking – Raudi needed to be set up to succeed.

I presumed that in time, that Beth would lower the cross jumps and that Raudi would go over the poles.

The problem was that after going over the poles and cavalettis, Raudi and I were ready to do more. However, I was unable to convey this to Beth, who was rightfully focused on assisting the more experienced riders and their more experienced jumpers.

There was, admittedly, also the ego thing. Here Raudi and I were, on the fringes, watching the other jumpers. It just didn’t feel good. I wasn’t up for a big challenge, but a little challenge would have been just right.

So, I walked Raudi around the arena a few times and then left the arena.

I will go back to Beth’s, and resume lessons. But it is going to be some time before I do so. The main reason is that I need equitation and not jumping lessons. Raudi and I won’t do any better than we are now doing until we get more of the basics down, basics that preclude jumping.

The second thing is that I am hard of hearing. I don’t hear my instructor all that well, and so, in order to do well, I need to have this problem attended to. I have an appointment to get my hearing checked – I suspect that in the very near future, that I’ll need a hearing aid.

The third thing is that I been working hard at learning all I can about centered riding, in fact obsessively so. I can, in jumping lessons, bring some things back to mind, but at this point, not enough.

The fourth thing is that I’m using positive reinforcement techniques when at Beth’s, near serendipitously. I’m rewarding Raudi on the sly, after going over jumps – I or Beth should click right as she’s going over the jump. I have hesitated to explain this to Beth, who does not believe in the use of treats.

All this, and yet I do feel like I’m moving forward. I am right now figuring out what it is that I want for me and my horse.

If I had my druthers, I’d do an internship in which I’d instruct and be instructed, at a centered riding facility in the northwest. I’d enjoy this. Build it and they will come.

Next: 116. 5/3/15: An Important Revelation: The Importance of Clear Intent

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