Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses - Jesse Saldana Clinic Part 2

Part 1

As I left the arena with Scandalous Storm, I asked Jesse Saldana if he thought this Arabian horse would be competitive in amateur halter. Since I'm not really that big on halter, I can't really see the point in messing with it if the horse isn't going to cut it. Jesse's response was that he thought I should do well with this horse. So maybe I will give it another try once I get him trained with Jesse's method.

Before I got my next horse ready to show, I checked to see that the Rachel and Mariah had gotten the horses settled. While I had given them both instructions, the most important part hadn't been done. The horses hadn't been feed. I think training Rachel to think for herself about what to do, is going to much harder than teaching her how to ride.

Once feeding the horses was done, I proceeded to get Legs saddled up and his legs wrapped. I still felt bad that I was dragging him out to do this when the horse was in no kind of shape. I was pretty sure there was no way we were going to make it through a forty minute lesson.

I only allowed enough warm up time to do a very basic warm-up. Anything more than that and I'd have no horse for the lesson. But Legs is always a sport no matter what I do, he just gives it his best every time. This time was no exception.

Jesse's training style is very much like my own. It didn't take but a few minutes watching him with the first rider to know that. So my ride with Legs was going to be more about confirming that what I thought was the right frame for this horse from up top, was the same on the ground.

I know from years of riding Dandy that's not always the case. So that makes it important to get video done or someone you trust to tell you what does or doesn't look good. Since I don't have much luck getting anyone to take video and my family all think whatever I do is great, clinicians are a big help to me for this purpose.

It was reaffirming to hear Jesse's voice telling me "good" when I would release the horse. I think most of the time he would give me instructions I was already in the midst of implementing them before the words crossed his lips. Listening to that timing also helped with my confidence.

Legs is really an easy horse to ride when he's fit. But when he's not, he takes a lot of pushing, lots and lots of leg. And a hold with the legs won't do it, it has to be a constant tap, tap, tap. Once the darn horse is fit, I can ride him solely off of my seat and thighs but out of shape takes the whole darn leg.

Jesse started us off walking in a circle and flexing to the inside. I'd say that Legs did the walk about normal for him. By the time we hit the jog, it was leg, leg and more leg. Even getting the horse into the lope the first time took a pop with the bat and keeping him going took even more leg.

At that rate it didn't take long and my legs felt like mush. I'm not so sure that Legs wasn't feeling the same. But Jesse was good at seeing when I was too pooped to push anymore. At that point he had me bring the horse back down to a walk so we could work on flexing and bending for a bit of a breather. Then it was back to more transitions.

I think that Legs and I lasted about thirty minutes of our forty minute lesson. My poor horse was a sweaty mess and needed some cool down time. He was not the only one. While my sweat didn't show because of the layers of clothing I was wearing, I'm pretty sure that I could have matched him drop for drop. I was exhausted and I still had one more horse to work.

I was pretty happy with the way it had gone. It was clear that I was riding the horse in the correct frame. It would just take some time to get him fit before I began work in the full bridle.

To be continued..............

Part 3

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  1. oh my gosh, just reading that made my legs weak!

    it sounds like the clinic was a success so far.

    Hopefully Rachel will come around and start thinking ahead. Kids are so hard to 'train' these days! I can remember being 100% responsible for my own horse at the age of 8 yo. My father supervised but I knew if he had to do any work or remind me about doing my chores and taking proper care of my horse, our horses would be history.....

  2. Amateur halter? Interesting concept.

    I'm sure Rachel will figure it out some day. I'm really bad with Darling as I rarely have her do her own work in terms of barn chores. I just enjoy being out there too much! And she does go out and feed willingly when I ask...