Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jody Strand Clinic - Legs

Part 1

I got to the facility at about 7:30 so that left me only a half hour to get my horses and my stuff all moved in. I was peeling off layers of clothing each trip in and out of the barn, I was working up such a sweat. I sure was glad Legs wasn't going to be the first horse that morning, I'd have never made it.

Once I had all must stuff in the barn, I set about clipping the horses. I always try to have my horses bathed and clipped whenever they present to the public. The baths hadn't happened but I wasn't going to skip the clipping. It's been my experience people may not remember when they saw your horse look great, they most certainly remember when they saw the horse look bad. I didn't want anyone thinking anything less than good about either of my horses.

Legs still looked pretty good with his clip for national's except for his bridle path and his muzzle. His body clip was holding much better than Rhet's. Even his ears had little hair in them. Cleaning up his bridle path and muzzle was a snap and I moved onto the second horse.

I decided I'd do a show clip on the face of the second horse. With all that winter hair, he still wasn't going to look great but at least people would be able to see his pretty face. That is if anyone was left at the time I rode the second horse. There was still the possibility someone might look at him in the stall if they didn't see the ride so I wasn't taking any chances.

When I turned the clippers on the horse jumped towards the back of the stall. He was snorting like he'd never even seen those clippers before. Now I was really beginning to wonder if this had been a good idea. Having not ridden this horse in over two months, was I expecting more from the horse than he could deliver?

With the horse bouncing off the walls at the mere sound of the clippers, I decided I better halter him before I tried again. Once the halter was in place the horse wasn't nearly as resistant as he'd been. There were a few jumps and twitches but overall he was pretty good getting his face clipped. I even managed to get it done without getting hair down my shirt. That was a big plus.

I went out to the arena to check on the status of my lesson on Legs. Jody was working with another horse but it was clear that wouldn't last much longer. I went back to the stalls to get Legs saddled up.

When I walked through the stall door with the pads, Legs let me know at the he wasn't impressed........ another one of those deep deep sighs rolled off his lips. When I threw the saddle up onto his back the horse actually groaned. For a brief instant I felt sorry for the horse. Within a few minutes I was feeling sorry for me.

As I led Legs into the arena Jody Strand commented "Now there's a handsome horse." Then as I began warming him up, he commented. "and he's a really pretty mover too."

Just as all the other riders have given Jody status on their horses, I wanted to do that too. For Legs it's not just about status, it's more about history. I explained the horse had been injured as a foal and the issue hadn't been rectified until he was nearly 4. Teaching the horse to use himself correctly after he'd grow up compensating for his pelvis being rotated like that had been a chore.

I also told Jody about the horse's reaction to the curb the first time I'd put it place. The brief time he'd been ridden in that bit by the now BNT had caused its own set of issues that needed to be resolved as well. The horse was coming along but still not where I wanted him to be. He looked good from the ground by something just didn't feel right.

I explained to Jody how I'd taken the horse to nationals even though I knew he really wasn't ready yet. I told him a little bit about our troubles with the horse getting spooked and how I felt about the ride in my class. Jody thought I'd made the right choice to take the horse when I was going anyway. All of this conversation we had while I warmed the horse up.

Once the warm-up was finished, I set about showing Jody what my problem was. He seemed to think the only issue was the horse was being a bit lazy. He chalked it up to fatigue. At this point I was using so much leg trying to keep my horse together, the horse is not the only one that was fatigued.

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

The Problem

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