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July 1, 2014: Lessons Learned: The Value of Teamwork

Lesson tonight, on the heels of getting back from collecting wildflowers and doing a garden tour. No time to dilly dally – I got home, we loaded Raudi into the trailer and headed for Three Rivers Ranch. It turned out to be a very long lesson—it began with me attempting to get Rosie to focus on the task at hand. She was very officious when I walked her, and even more so when I got on her. Her head was high, her back low, and I could tell, she wasn’t in the mood for having me telling her what to do because this ran counter to what she wanted to do, which was to fraternize with the horses on the far ends of the arena.

Once the lesson began, Rosie got down to business. There were four other riders present – a small but committed group. Beth first had us work on leg yields to the left and to the right. Rosie did well with this–pretty impressive considering that the other horses and riders were far more accomplished than we were. When asked, Rosie repeatedly faced the fence and moved near sideways, crossing her rear legs over and moving perpendicular to the fence. Then, when at the far end of the fence, we trotted in a large circle, back to the starting point. However, after several bouts of going both ways, Rosie started to act resistant. It was as though she was saying that she thought she had things figured out, and that it was clearly time to move on to another activity.

This activity was jumping. We first went over two jumps, one at a time. Rosie enjoyed this, and put lots of air between herself and the jumps. Next, we were to put it all together and go over all the jumps in sequence. There were seven jumps total. Beth made eye contact with me and explained what this sequence consisted of. I thought it was odd that she was singling me out – that is until she indicated that Rosie and I were to go first. This, I quickly realized, was because the jumps were set to a height that we could jump.

So off we went with Beth telling us which jump to go over next. Rosie and I (at least in my estimation) did extremely well. Rosie refused one jump, but after a few attempts she cleared it nicely. This, of course, was a challenge for us because it included a double cross jump, a straight pole jump, and an overturned cavalletti. These were all jumps that I would not have considered going over a few weeks ago. However, I knew that we’d do just fine when Rosie, in heading in their direction, picked up speed and prepared herself for takeoff.

Once done, we waited our turn, and then went again. Rosie refused the first jump, and would not go over it, even when following Hunar. I did finally get her over it. We were (I think) both tired. And too, Rosie’s rear muscles might have been fatigued after coming down the Hatcher Pass Road. I was of course disappointed because I badly wanted us both to continue to do well. I returned to the group and waited as the others again did the sequence.

I figured that that was it for the night, and that Rosie and I were finished. I figured wrong. Beth (brilliant woman that she is) had a plan. At the lesson’s near conclusion, she suggested that we all, in unison, follow one another over two cross poles laid on top of one another. Rosie, she indicated, was to follow Hunar. This worked – all the horses, including Rosie, moved in a relaxed fashion over the obstacle. This, we finally dubbed, “Ring around Rosie.”

Lessons Learned:
The lesson went extremely well. Beth (of course) is adept at knowing when enough is enough. However, I should follow her lead and call it good immediately after Rosie does well. This means saying done whenever Rosie or I are tired, as we were three quarters of the way through the lesson.

Going over the poles at the lesson’s end: This served to reinforce the fact that the group of us are a team, and that we are all working together – this as opposed to our being into this exclusively for self-betterment.

I need to focus on holding onto the mane and not pulling back on the reins when coming to a jump. This was in part what caused Rosie to balk.

Next: 181. 7/3/14: Ryder’s Stitches Removed