Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday at the Barn - Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses AND Mom! Part 2

Part 1

Rachel is not the least bit sensitive to her mother's hard work on her behalf. She moans about taking care of the horses and drags her feet to get her mother to help her with the work. To say that bothers Grandma would be an understatement.

So I've been working to balance things out a bit. I work Rachel's Arabian horse and give her lesson only once the other work is done if at all possible. I make sure mom knows how long it really takes to clean six stalls instead of how long Rachel can drag it out. I don't help Rachel if she doesn't do her part. No more is mom carrying Rachel not if Grandma can help it.

Rachel did get a lesson Sunday after I schooled Dandy. We are working on raising his head set. He is carrying his head too low to be competitive at the higher levels. It's harder for a horse to carry himself as collected as we need him to be with the height of his head as well. So I have been doing it in stages, first we got the collection, now we work on the elevation of his head. This changing of his head position is the final stage to getting him in a competitive frame.

I had Rachel set the cones up for her ride with Dandy. We did the same exercises that I have described before with variations to keep the horse and rider interested. I just have added Rachel lifting him up when he drops to low. This added speed on Dandy's part so it was a while before she got the Arabian horse going correctly.

While she was cooling the Arabian horse out, I got on Legs. That poor stallion seems to always be the last on my list. He's only been ridden a couple of times in the past couple of months and before that even less. So I am going to have to slowly leg him back up.

I worked him around the cones a little bit but in much larger circles than what we do with Dandy because I don't want him to get sore. I also only work the horse for what would normally just be the warm up time. I will gradually increase the time as he builds up his strength.

Legs is such a good sport. He deals with about anything I throw his way. Today, I threw Colleen at him. I just can't stand to see her standing there watching while Rachel gets to ride. Colleen wants to ride as badly as her daughter but always gives way for the ungrateful child. So today I asked her if she had her boots. She didn't but I had Lindsay's in my truck and guess what, Lindsay's just happen to fit Colleen.

So I did about half of what I would normally do on Legs and then put Colleen up on him while Rachel cooled her Arabian horse out. Colleen is dyslexic just like Rachel and when she's tired (and believe me she is very tired), just like Rachel, she has more problems. A good part of our time was spent making sure she understood the directions.

Colleen has ridden the Arabian stallion a few times before. He is such an honest horse, she has no trouble riding him. She can spend all her time in the saddle working on learning her balance and the use of her aids. He just goes along like Dandy would totally taking care of her.

Colleen was experiencing lots of dyslexic moments. I instructed her to use her outside rein as she picked up more inside rein and so on. Legs just gets this expression on his face that tells you he's really trying to figure out what it is she's asking of him.

Because Colleen felt tentative, Legs moved cautiously unsure of the reason for Colleen's concern. She had a little bit of trouble getting him to jog and then a little more keeping him going. But once he figured out that he really was supposed to be jogging, he settled into a nice even pace for her to handle.

Maneuvering the cones was difficult for Colleen at first but it didn't take long before she was getting the hang of it. Of course, she wasn't really getting keeping the horse squared between her legs. Over these last two years that Rachel has been learning to ride, Colleen has had very few lessons. Grandma isn't real happy about that either, and I'll be doing what I can to see that improve.

You know with all the time I've been bragging Legs up here, that something was bound to happen. I don't know what it is about horses, but when you least expect it, they have to go and act like horses, no matter how well trained they are.

During the lesson, Colleen decided that her stirrups were too long. I had headed over to answer Colleen's cell phone for her, so Rachel got off her horse to help her mom. She left Dandy ground tied over near the rail while she adjusted Colleen's stirrups. She heard Dandy moving behind her and hollered at him to whoa.

It turned out he wasn't going anywhere. The horse just had to pee. He was stretching out to relieve himself when Rachel yells at him. The poor horse looked around at her with this expression on his face that clearly told us his dilemma. We all laughed and went back to what we were doing not really thinking about it again.

Well, did I ever tell you the story of Legs dumping me last fall? What, you say, he dumped you! You're darn right he did, right there in that very arena. Seems that a gelding had peed in the middle of the arena. When I went riding over that wet spot the horse jumped sideways out from underneath me.

I was riding hunt seat at the time. It's not my favorite seat. Give me a western saddle where I've something to grab onto if need be! But I nearly saved myself. Notice I said "nearly." I grabbed his neck and tried to get my your know what back in the saddle. It didn't happen and I feel off sideways right into the rail.

The rail actually broke my fall. I slide down the wall and left a clear impression of one cheek right up next to the rail as my horse exited to the other side of the arena. He knew he was in trouble. I actually didn't get hurt all that badly. I was just a bit stiff the next day.

Why am I telling you this now? Well remember that pee spot where Dandy relieved himself? We didn't! We didn't even think about it. And when Colleen was loping, with not good steering she headed right over the top of that darn pee spot.

Well, that is until Leg's saw the spot and jumped sideways! Not as far sideways as he had with me that day. Probably because the spot was near the rail instead of out in the middle. The rail acted like a barrier stopping the horse. Sideways enough that Colleen was thrown forward in the saddle and bounced around a bunch. She nearly hit the dirt.

After she composed herself, we tried to lope again. I'm not sure if Legs was hesitant because Colleen was worried or what, but he really didn't want to lope for her. She was having trouble getting him into the gait. I ended up getting the lunge line and a whip so I could get him into the lope and give Colleen some security at the same time. Thankfully, it all went well.

By the time we finished, both of them were exhausted. Believe me the ride was not that long. I think nerves got the best of both of them. I think they were both relieved when it was time to cool Legs out. While there had been a bit of a trauma, Colleen was grinning from ear to ear as she rode the horse around the arena with his head dropped down to stretch.. It was really clear to me that she had really needed that ride. You can bet there will be more!

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  1. lol, poor Dandy just needing to whiz!

    Legs sure sounds like a wonderful stallion. I have only met a few stallions in my time that I would want to be around. I bet I'd like Legs!

  2. It's so nice that you are attentive to your daughter's needs.

    I was just thinking (again) about how I need to take time for MY riding. So, in February we are boarding three horses at our trainers house so I can ride along side the girls.

  3. I agree that you are very attentive to your daughter and your grandchild's needs. I like that you ended things with the horse loping and Colleen grinning from ear to ear, too.

  4. I am commenting on an old post, just to sympathize with the dyslexic thing... While I love my new riding instructor and learning a lot, he seems to believe that if he just says "left" or "right" enough I will get it. I am 25, and not likely too! Right now, when I get confused I stop the horse... look at him and say "Away from the rail or into?" If my horse was blind, we would regularly be turning and running right into the wall. Lol... One tip I have found... put vetrap on one rein (I always do the left), then when they say left... I think Vetwrap.