Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Monday night, I could hear my horses growling at me when I got home. It was in the upper 30s, misting rain, and breezy. I hurried to get their blankets on, apologized profusely, fed them quickly, then hurried back inside. It was too too cold to mess with anybody, too much a breeding ground for sickness.

Tuesday, however, when I walked out of my lab building, the sun was shining, blue-bird sky, mid 60s. Oh yeah... That's what I'm talking about. I hurried home, watered the dogs, changed into my breeches, and grabbed Romeo.

Saddled up Romeo English, grabbed my helmet, and headed to the arena. Rain had sprinkled the property, knocking the dust down to something reasonable, instead of the wild dust bowl it was. I was relieved.

Worked in the English bit, a Korsteel loose ring link snaffle, with a copper link in the middle. Spent enough time on the flat w/t/c to make sure he'd stop. I caught myself resting my calves on his sides, and he kept breaking from walk to trot. After two of those "up transitions", I figured out what I was doing wrong, pulled my legs off, apologized to him. Romeo let out this huge head-shaking sigh... It was quite comical.

Friend from work came to set up the x-rail, and "babysit" our first jump attempts since the June show disaster. I had the new saddle pad on, a gentler girth, and Romeo seemed responsive. He sailed over the x-s like we hadn't taken a break. It was beyond awesome. He hopped the rail three times clean, and I quit that. I did learn last night that if I keep leg on over the fence, he's probably going to land in a canter. First time over it, I thought mid-jump "geez, I better get my leg off, he sure did take off with some high energy." He landed in a canter stride, but took my light aids and went back to a trot. I don't want my first canter-from, or canter-to for that matter, to be without educated counsel standing by. I haven't a clue what I'm doing, and don't want his first experience to be horrid.

Finished up the work with a little loose rein canter, almost as a reward to Romeo for his contact work. On each walk "break", I kept leaving the reins loose, trying to reward him working on contact. Each time, he would stretch into "long and low", reaching out slowly with his face, looking for the contact. How Cool Cool Cool!

Neat 40 minute ride. Ransom was free in the pasture just outside the arena, wandering around, watching, grazing, and acting like it was no big deal to him I was riding Romeo and not him. Awesome!

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