I LOVE MY HORSE! AND I LOVE MY TRAINER! AND TODAY WAS AWESOME!
Ha ha sorry for yelling. So, today I had my first ride in about 3 weeks, and my first lesson in about 3 months. My trainer is the best, sweetest, most caring trainer EVER. She may put on her tough-girl act, but inside she’s a marshmallow. I found out today that she bought me a saddle! It is a German made jumping saddle, and it is SO COMFY! It fits me and my horse as near to perfect as you can get from eBay, which is where we ALWAYS get our saddles from. Here is a picture of it:
She also taught me a new method to help me get Moose to set his head right. Because he is from the track, his head is ALL OVER THE PLACE. We need to correct this, not just for appearance, but because he has arthritis in his hocks. His stifles are not very strong, and so we need to strengthen them. But since I am not the rider I need to be right now after a long lay-off to get him traveling right, we will use this method she came up with, which she likes to call the “Rope Trick”.
Remove saddle and nose band.
We have a black lead rope/draw reign with clips on both ends. You lay it across his back (where the saddle would be), so that you have 1 clip on each side. You bring the right side up between his front legs and clip it to the LEFT side of the bit. Then you grab the left clip, bring it through the front legs, and clip it to the RIGHT side of the bit. You then lunge them like this. It only takes a few minutes at the walk trot and canter. The rope is not tight, and does not PULL his head down. It is just a very LIGHT contact that uses a slight left-right motion, just like I would from the saddle. It acts much like draw reigns would. This way, he learns the correct way to carry himself without me on him, and I can do it without anyones assistance. It also allows him to work out any kinks without me having to ride through them. It keeps me safe, and it does not cause any fear or pain to the horse. After 10 minutes or so, I remove the rope, tack him back up (with the noseband), and I can ride him. Now, we are using draw reigns on him right now, but it is only until he has figured it out. We may in the future return to it when needed (as you always should do. The really successful horses and riders are those who will take a break, go back to the basics every now and then. Because if you haven’t mastered the basics, how can you possibly master the high levels?), but it will not be something that we use CONSTANTLY. Once he gets it, there is no need to continue. Now, say, if I had another lay-off season or something, or there is a day that we are having a lot of trouble. At that time, yes I would come back to this. Now, this should NEVER be tried without a learned and experienced horse person with you. If you do not know exactly what you are doing, you could get yourself and your horse in a lot of trouble.
Anyways, after we worked him for 15 minutes on the line (we did longer today because it was his first time and my first time, so it took longer to get the kinks out.), I got up on him and had the most amazing ride ever.
The second a put a slight contact on the draw reigns, he was holding his head like a level 3 dressage horse and acting like a perfect gentleman. That’s not to say we got through it perfectly, but it was a pretty darn good ride for an ex-racer and a teenage girl who have been out of it for months!
I also discovered that I have permission to go to the barn alone now, so hopefully I can go much more often. I am SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Moose is the best horse on the face of this earth. I never could have made it this far without him, both in my horsemanship and in life period. It still amazes me that God would have given me this perfect horse when I wasn’t even looking for him.
And as for Holly, I will never forget her. She is an amazing trainer, and a gift from God. If it wasn’t for her, I’d still just be a girl with a dream, some book smarts, and no real talent what-so-ever. I love you Holly!
That’s all for today!