Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses - Jesse Saldana Clinic Part 3

Part 1

The next Arabian horse I brought for the clinic was Scandalous Reflection. He's a five year old stallion with loads of talent. I haven't ridden him since Oct of last year. There were only four rides total and we hadn't loped yet so doing anything under saddle was out of the question. So the long lines were my "weapon" of choice.

I was looking forward to this session with the long lines because I've never been to a clinic or had any type of lesson in how to use this training equipment. I've just kind of picked it up on my own playing around with them and figuring out what works for me. I was interested in seeing how a "real" trainer would use them on a young horse.

When I brought Reflection into the arena, Jesse Saldana asked me if I wanted to show him how I worked the horse in the long lines or if I wanted him to work the horse. I was most interested in seeing how he would work a young horse in the lines. I wanted to see if what I was doing was correct as well as how much he asks from the horse in the beginning.

I had been working the horse for a couple of weeks in the long lines, so he was comfortable with the equipment including the crupper. He also knows the cues for walk, trot, canter and whoa.
Jesse started off with the horse using a draw line where I had been using a direct rein. He ran the line from the bottom ring of the surcingle through the outside of the ring of the snaffle and up to the top ring on the surcingle.

Then he pretty much worked the horse like he had the riding horses. He used the inside rein to cue the horse to bend to the inside and worked him at the walk first. Flexing the horse to the inside, he pushed him forward with a cluck and the whip. If the horse tried to push through the bit instead of onto it, he gave him a light "bump" with the inside rein. (Jesse used the term "bump" a lot but his "bump" was more like a squeeze of the rein.)

Once he had the horse going nice and round at the walk, he asked him to trot. Then he repeated the exercise flexing the horse slightly to the inside to encourage him to round up and get soft again using a clucking sound and the whip to push the horse. To help with the softness, he worked transitions from the trot back to the walk and back to the trot over and over. Then he reversed the horse and did the whole thing all over again.

When he had the horse going soft and round both directions, he proceeded to the canter. Well, he tried to proceed to the canter.

Reflection is kind of a fraidy cat. If he's someplace new or strange, he doesn't want to canter. (Storm on the other hand is the opposite, he wants to run like a fool when he's scared!) Being in different surroundings, Reflection was cautioius and didn't want to stay in the canter.

To complicate matters, he slipped at one point when he did try to canter. I knew that Jesse had his work cut out for him. There is no way this horse was going to feel comfortable and stay in the canter. It got to the point that Jesse was happy just to get one circle in at the gait.

I have to say he was way more patient with Reflection than I would have been. But then I know the horse better than Jesse does. I would have moved him away from the spot that was scaring him and popped him on the butt. But Jesse just kept hung in there kissing to the horse. There was a lot more kissing than loping, I can tell you. But still enough that he was able to get the horse responding softly when he did lope.

Jesse worked the horse until he felt he wasn't getting any more improvement. That makes sense to me as a good place to stop. I know many trainers work until they reach the point the horse is "good." I've learned with my horses having the kind of talent that they do, that doesn't take much time to achieve. If I only worked them that long, they would never achieve any kind of fitness. So Jesse's plan of working them until they are beginning to tire and no longer being able to maintain "good" makes much more sense to me.

As I went to claim my horse, Jesse mentioned that he thought this one would be an even better western horse than the other one. At the time, I was thinking he was referring to Storm. I responded that both of them were five and so I planned to ride them in hunter pleasure for a year first, since they would need to be in the bridle to be shown in western. He agreed that was the best plan for a western horse who hadn't been shown as a junior horse first.

I was pretty pleased with the sessions with all three horses. It was clear that Jesse had liked them and that I was on the right track with each of them. For an amateur that does all of my own training, getting a thumbs up from a trainer such as Jesse Saldana is defintely good for the confidence. I couldnt' wait to see how things went with Rachel and the other two Arabian horses. And for Rachel's sessions, I was going to remember my camera.

to be continued..........

Part 4

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  1. Wow. After reading about the work session with Jesse, I'd say YOU have done some pretty impressive work with the horses.

    Would be very interesting to watch those sessions.


  2. Fascinating. I'm hanging on every training cue.

  3. Sounds like a good session and am glad that you were able to get the confirmation on your techniques.

    I am dreadful with the long lines, no hope for me there at all, heck I get myself tangled up in the lunge line let along having two to contend with and instruct the horse properly LOL.

    Looking foward to hearing of Rachel's experiences.


  4. What a great training session! Sounds to me like you are doing things right with your guys! Always nice to hear it from a well known trainer though isn't it? Looking forward to the next chapter!

    Yes, there was a bear on my back deck! He was coming up after the bird seed in my feeders! He's a bit bigger then the raccoon birdseed bandits that I had a while back. Dad said he was young and probably about 400 lbs. or so.

    I rode Buddy this morning for the first time since he foundered in May. Just some walk/trot in both the inside and outside rings. I am very rusty and feel my balance is shot since I fell off. I think I am tense, not wanting to fall again. I'm sure each time will get better.

  5. it sounds like you had a great clinic!

    How'd you feel about Reflection maybe making a better western horse? I love the photo at the top. Beautiful!