Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And I fell off Sparrow again…

Yup, I did.  But it’s ok!  I was actually really happy with how the whole schooling session went yesterday – Sparrow did really well!  Yay! : D

It was interesting, because I wasn’t sure that he would behave.  It was a hot, sunny afternoon when I arrived at the paddocks, but in the two minutes between saddling him {complete with pulling faces on his part, some side stepping which I corrected and a growl on my part} and putting on his bridle a really fierce wind whipped up and blew in some nasty looking storm clouds.  Sparrow’s head went into giraffe/Arab/TB mode, and I was thinking that there might be a possibility of some trouble, so I debated whether to lounge him first or not.  But then I didn’t really have the time, and I wasn’t going to wuss out of my ride, so I led him to the arena instead, shutting all the gates behind me. {Even though the “gate” for the arena area isn’t a gate, it’s two rope strung across where the gate used to be.  Somebody stole it.  Our arena doesn’t actually have a fence either – it’s all rather open.}

He stood like a rock for me to mount {whoever trained him to do that did a good job!} and we got on with it.  A few jogs here and there, a bit of *stop* “Oh lookit!!  My mates are over there!” and a lot of “Yikes! That-horse-eating-barrel-has-moved-AGAIN-you-can’t-tell-me-it-won’t-jump-out-and-nom-me-how-‘bout-we-walk-over-THERE-instead”s, and he finally started to drop his head and relax.  10 minutes later we were walking around calmly and listening to leg signals.  Yay! 

We just did some simple schooling, walking, figures of eight, 20m circles {which aren’t quite 20m yet, more like 19m ‘cause he doesn’t want to “touch” the outside track… Grrr.}, trotting large and in circles, and in figure of eights.  I practised my leg position and my two-point position to make things harder for me, and we did a few serpentines. 

I was walking him past the horse-eating-barrels {they are painted bright green and white and sit just out side the arena} in a shoulder fore, working on the “let’s keep to the outside track at a straight walk, not a jog or veer, kthx” and he was slowly starting to listen to me, and not spook. Of course we had to be right next to the barrels when one of them went “Bung!” as the metal cooled down from the heat.  Sparrow went Ahhhh! *Jumps for his life*.  Stupid me lost my seat and I accidentally dug a spur into his side, so he promptly skittered away from that and I just slipped off the side and landed in the dirt at his feet clutching onto the reins. 

He then peered down at me with a “What just happened?” look on his face and I looked back at him and said “I fell off you goof.”  He actually seemed sort of relieved when I got up and patted him!  Away, then it was desensitization to barrel type noise time, so I walked him up to the barrels and started banging, kicking them, and knocking the buckle of the reins on them.  He actually hardly reacted to the noise at all, so that was good considering that he is quite sensitive to sounds.  When he looked bored with the whole business, I hopped back on and we continued our nice calm walking around and our shoulder fores past the barrels.  A little bit more skittery about the barrels, but really no worse then the beginning of our work out; still listening to me and really that was it! 

I was thrilled at the end of the ride.  He did really well considering that the wind was whipping around in trees, everything from long grass to weeds to leaves was constantly moving and rustling and shaking about.  The fact that I got calm, relaxed ‘plodding’ from my four and half year old TBx for most of our schooling session says progress to me, particularly when just two rides before the only time he would relax would be half an hour to forty minutes into our session, and then it would only be for a few minutes because I would reward him and end the ride.  A trick which seems to have worked well! 

In summary, I think he’s trusting me more and that’s great.  I have only had him for three months, and three weeks out of those months I didn’t ride him at all, so all in all, we are actually doing okay.  > U <

If you manage to make it to the end of this rather long post – kudos to you!

See ya!


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