Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Wendy Potts Clinic.......The Morning of Our Ride

Part 1- Wendy Potts Clinic

Part 1 - Sizing Things Up - Status on Storm

We were scheduled for our ride at 10 AM so I'd decided to be there early before anyone arrived so I could get my horse bitted and lunged in the arena before anyone arrived. I had specific issues I wanted help with on this horse and I didn't want to waste our valuable lesson time dealing with his concern with his new surroundings.

As it was I got plenty of time to work on these issues. I awoke at 2 AM and was unable to get back to sleep. When I'd decided to get up and post my first blog about this clinic I found my computer in pieces on the kitchen counter. Still unable to sleep I decided I'd leave a little early and stop at Mickey D's for an egg mcmuffin.

That would mean taking the long way to the facility for the clinic, Country Lane, in Enumclaw. That would take up part of my extra time so I was pretty sure I wouldn't arrive before 6, the scheduled opening time for that morning.

Who knew that Mickey's D's may have drive-up windows that early in the morning but the main lobbies aren't open......certainly not me. Drive-up windows are not set up for pick-up trucks with horse trailers and even if they were, I doubt they accommodate a rig like mine. There was just enough traffic going through the drive-up, I figured I'd get hit by a car before I ever got my breakfast so I was on to the next Mickey D's to try again.

It took three stops before I got to one with an open lobby. By then it was a bit after six and Storm wasn't sure what I was dragging him through. The horse was pawing and snorting and rocking my horse trailer wanting to get back on the road and hopefully out of that trailer. I probably wouldn't have even made all those stops if I hadn't been needing to kill time so I didn't arrive too early at Country Lane.

As it was we got there just as they were feeding horses. I'd already been assigned a stall for Storm so I got him put in and settled. Then I moved my tack in while they got the arena dragged knowing that once that was done it was ok for me to work my horse.

That gave me plenty of time to get my horse groomed, tacked up and lunged. Storm was a bit naughty about being bitted up but that's exactly what I expected. I wanted his resistance to be worked out without me on his back so I just let him rip until the horse decided it was time to settle.

I was actually surprised at how long it took that to happen. The horse didn't work up a sweat as he's been known to do when confronted with something new. I guess he decided he might just as well go with the flow and settle so he could stop going around in circles. He'd save his attitude for the riding part.

When I went to get on the horse is when I knew he was going to be a pistol. Storm didn't want to stand in the corner to let me mount. There was no mounting block available so I had to get my aged b*tt up there without assistance. Storm must have thought it was his cue to leave town.

The minute I put my foot into the stirrup the horse tried to cut out of the corner. Luckily I suspected as much and was ready for him. I blocked his turn with the rein and scolded him with my voice. Storm shook his head at me and I wondered if I was in for a "memorable" ride. Thankfully that turned out not to be the case.

The getting on was the only bad part. Storm was very good about going down the rail and checking out his new surroundings. I really only worked on flexing and bending the horse making sure he was responding to my leg cues instead of going through them as horses tend to do when they don't want to go near something new.

Riding ahead of the horse, I would flex him away from anything that might cause him to shy. Making the work harder gave him something to put his mind onto instead of his surroundings. After two or three times around the ring doing that, the horse was pretty sure nothing there was going to try to eat him.

About that time, the two riders from the first lesson entered the arena on their horses. Storm hasn't had much experience with other horses in the ring so he thought he might get closer to take a look see and maybe even get a nice smell of the newcomers. It didn't take much to convince him that wasn't a good idea so the horse settled back in and gave his attention back to me.

Once I was sure his mind was where it belonged, I called it good and put my horse away. I left him tied in his stall until our lesson so he could work a little on his patience as well. Then I went out and watched the lessons in front of us.

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

Getting Started with Storm

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  1. Sounds OK so far, I have had much worse with my dear old Catana , who's reponse to an indoor the first time was frankly "you have brought me here to die !!"

  2. Man that's a pet peeve of mine when they try to take off before you're up.

    I think God was trying to tell you not to eat that McMuffin ;-)

  3. Storm sounds like any horse confronted with new things. Not too bad and controllable. That's a plus.
    Can't wait to hear more on how he did in his lesson.