Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jody Strand Clinic - Getting to the Second Horse

Part 1

Having someone with a reputation like Jody Strand like my horse was definitely good for my confidence. After the trip I'd had to nationals, it was nice to have a positive experience. The fact that Jody thought taking my horse to nationals even though he wasn't ready yet, was a good idea was even better . I felt bad my horse was so fatigued but I was really glad I'd brought him to the clinic after all.

There were several horses to work before I rode my second horse. With all the leg it had required to keep Legs together, I was grateful to have the break. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some place to take a nap. Since that wasn't happening, I watched the rest of the horses but doubt I took much information in. I was really exhausted.

The pretty bay horse from the day before was back for a second ride. I looked at this gelding again wondering about his mane but nothing registered.

I'd made the comment to Jody when I'd first gotten on my horse that I knew he would probably like to see my horse's mane shortened. Jody's response had been he thought Legs' mane was just fine. He said the way the horse carried himself the shape of his neck is clearly visible. I wondered what the difference was between the two horses.

It dawned on me today I actually took a few pics at this clinic and it actually turned out I took a couple of pictures of the bay gelding. Now that I'm not fatigued it's easy to see the problem is not the length of the pretty gelding's mane. It's the length of his bridle path.

People don't get why Arabian horses sometimes have their bridle path cut back as far and some either farther as Legs. It's been done that way so his mane does not cover his face or his throat latch when the horse is rolled over into the bridle. Sorry, no pic of Legs going with his mane side showing but you can see from the pic how far back his bridle bath is trimmed. Even from the off side you can see his mane is not far from those two critical areas when the horse is rounded up.

For those who think that it shouldn't matter, I used to feel that way. Then I found my horses seemed to be frustrated with mane hair hanging in their eyes and faces whenever they were bridled. Rhythm used to snort and blow trying to keep the hair out of his eyes. Dare shakes her head when bothered by hair. Storm and Reflection have each complained too.

I guess if I were a horse, I might not like hair covering one of my eyes or tickling my face either when I was trying to concentrate. As it is, I can't stand it when my bangs get into my eyes. I've had less complaining horses as they have learned about collection now that I've trimmed their bridle paths back .

Before that happens, however, I keep their bridle paths short. I really hate cutting back their manes like that. There's something so sad about seeing that beautiful mane hair falling to the ground ravaged by the clippers. I guess as long as I show western pleasure, I'll have to live with it.

One thing about Sunday clinics, people tend to leave just as soon as they're done. By the time I was ready to ride my second horse most everyone at the clinic was gone. The only ones left watching seemed to be the clinic organizer and the barn owner..........and me.

By this time I was really wishing I'd left that second horse home. Two days in the cold barn had taken their toll. Normally I take horses to clinics so people can get a chance to see them. I figure the more people that see them the more likely I am to get something sold.

This logic wasn't going to work at this clinic and I was beginning to worry about the fact his horse hadn't been worked in a couple of months. Knowing my horses are usually fine with time off I hadn't taken into account how green this horse actually was and that he would be somewhere new and strange. I was hoping I wasn't going to pay for that mistake.

To offset things I decided I better get the horse ready early so I could have adequate time to lunge him. I'd know when he hit the end of that line whether I had a raving lunatic or a calm quiet horse. As it turned out, I had something in the middle. Tag was feeling defensive about this strange place but cautious too. If he stood for me to get on, I figured I have it made.

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

Tag's Impression

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  1. i have to ask, would the bay's pretty mane still cover his throatlatch if he wasn't so very much behind the vertical?


  2. Ya know, now that you put it that way(about the manes in the faces) it makes perfect sense.

  3. Is the first photo in this post of "the bay" and the second one of Legs?

  4. lytha, yes I think that it did. While the horse is behind in this shot, he wasn't behind the vertical except when being pushed up into the barrier of the bit. On the release I believe he was vertical where he belonged and the mane was still moving into that space and across the side of his face.

    BEC, it used to not be a problem because the manes of most show horses were cut almost back to the middle of the neck crest. Now, the look is for keeping as much mane as possible without still interferring with the overall look.

    Pony Girl, yes, the first horse is the Marwan son out of the Dark Victory daughter and the second is Legs.