09.04.16: Ride On

The morning started out with Kristi meeting with all the classes, apparently John had a bit of an earache and had to go to the doctor. We ended up talking about Kristi's trip to the beach with her horse over the weekend, and also to SeaWorld. She was impressed by the dedication that the park has to caring for the animals and their well being before the people that come into the park. She gave several instances that were interesting where the animals had been cared for with utmost dedication despite the public's opinion. It was a neat discussion to start the morning.
We broke into our classes and we started out on the seat builder that had a saddle on it practicing mounting and the rein positions. It was fun to go through it and have guidance when you didn't have to worry about the horse. We returned to the classroom for a discussion with Jenny about the ways to handle impulsion. For horses that have a lot of go circles can help to balance out their drive. For "shorter" horses that do not have a lot of energy to go then straight lines can help increase their desire to move forward. We discussed strategies and which horsenalities fall into each of those categories and how to read the horse to know what to do and how to apply it. It was a very interesting discussion and very valuable.
We headed out to the playground for a demonstration with some more problem solving with trailer loading and got to watch Baron work with Dakota again asking him to go into the trailer. He started out y checking out all the games and had to play quite a bit of friendly game to build his confidence with the stick and string. Baron did a great job handling Dakota and helping him through some of the challenges and eventually Dakota willingly put all his feet into the trailer. Baron quit there and chatted with us for a few minutes before he started another demo with Claudia's horse Willow. He asked what the problem was, and Claudia said she was having some problems with the circling game and changing directions. Baron asked her to start out and then once she went through the sequence a few times he gave her some suggestions that immediately fixed the issues. It was really cool to see how minor changes made a big difference in Willow's reaction and made it easier for her to perform the action.
We finished up with questions from that, and then I had to head up to Gainesville to pick Jim up from the airport. Since the internet was out in the morning I had to get directions from Kristi, and managed to make it up there ok. I got to drive through some really pretty country in the process passing through Paynes Prarie State Park, which is very interesting. I think we are going to try to drive out that way and take some pictures.
I managed to get back just as the focus group was starting. Baron explained to me what he went over, and then I got started with Storm. I warmed him up in the 50' arena and he was nice and responsive. I went and put the saddle on and then came back and spent some more time warming up. Baron was nearby and I got some good suggestions to help make my communication clearer so that Storm could respond easier. I finally climbed up and went for a bit of a ride in the playground. We went through some obstacles that I hadn't tried while riding, and Storm did all of them like a champ. We stopped and grazed for a while, and he managed to get a mouth full of grass kinda wrapped around the bit. I was laughing because the grass was hanging out of his mouth and he kept chewing and chewing and chewing. I decided to take him back up and untack so that I could play
online for a little while more and bring him up to the pond. I put him into the tiny trailer again, and then we went over to the water and he only wanted to walk through today. We wandered back down and I hosed him off to get the sweat off of his back and then took him into the arena to try to get photos of him rolling. We found a cooking on the rail of the arena and he bumped it off when he found it, so then we had to search for it on the ground. He finally found
it, and happily eating it. He didn't want to roll in the arena, so we worked a little bit more and then I took him out to a sandy area where he has rolled before and that did the trick. We got a great series of photos of him rolling vigorously.
I packed everything up and we headed in for a dinner for BBQ Pork chops and real mac and cheese along with some great disussions. It was also Thursday which meant Icecream night. We finally headed back to the campground to crash. I'll post pictures as soon as I get the chance to go through them. Now that Jim's here I can get photos of me doing stuff with him!

Next Page: 09.04.17: Wrapping Up
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