Friday, July 19, 2013

The Demonstration Ride

 Part 1

I am not big into lunging my Arabian horses. About the only time I do is when it's been a long time since the horse has been worked or with the youngsters. Even then I use it more as a barometer to test where the horse's head is. If he needs to buck and play before being asked to work, we do that. Otherwise I rarely lunge a horse for more than five minutes. I just don't believe making a horse tired on the line is the way to get the most from him.

With Percy not having been ridden in nearly two years, not to mention being green broke, I had Jessica lunge him to see where his mind was.  The horse moved off so carefully with his ear locked tight on her listening for instructions. He acted more like a seasoned horse or one that was on a regular work schedule  than a youngster standing around. It was clear Percy was ready to work.

Jessica has not got the best balance. Even though she had been Richard Galarza's dead weight in starting Percy and the other geldings, Jessica was not an experienced rider. What she lacked in skill she made up for in guts. She had no fear...and sometimes no sense, but she would follow directions well so that's why I trusted her to show Percy to this woman.

With this woman interested in a green horse, all I needed was to show he was safe enough for her to feel comfortable. I was pretty sure Jessica could accomplish this.

After the brief stint on the lunge line, I had Jessica mount up. Working in a large circle before me I had her walk, trot and canter Percy. Her balance got in the way at both the trot and the canter.

Jessica had not gotten the hang of posting at Opus Arabians but then posting can be hard enough to learn without balance issues too. Considering I had discovered that Richard didn't know leads or diagonals, it made sense that Jessica had issues with those things too. All of those sure didn't help her improve her balance. Without an ability to see those things himself, he sure couldn't instruct her in a manner that might have improved any of those things. Since the amount of work being done came to a near screeching halt when Richard got his hands on Storm's registration papers, the improvement in Jessica's riding had stopped too so now at the first increase of impulsion from Percy,  Jessica fell forward onto the horse's neck.

Other than hollowing his back and dropping his shoulder, Percy didn't seem to mind Jessica's poor balance. Unlike some young, inexperienced horses who might have become frightened at such an unexpected shift of weight leading to  being grabbed by the neck like a predator might do, Percy stayed calm, continuing on at the same rate. That gave me the opportunity to instruct Jessica on the fix to get her balance back.

When Jessica got her shoulders back and her heels down, the horse was able to correct his movement. Without her interference he stepped deep underneath himself, lifting his back and his shoulder in a smooth, even trot.

From there it took a few strides for the rider to figure out my instructions to get the proper diagonal. When she did, the horse let out a big sigh that seemed to reflect relief at the pair finally coming into unison.

With the trot finally coming together, I instructed Jessica to ask the horse to canter. The first way she managed to get that done without loosing her balance so his transition was smooth. She had trouble maintaining her balance. Her shoulders again come forward and her heels went too far back and raised up.

Her reaction to her lack of balance was to grip with her legs. Percy responded to that by speeding up which caused Jessica to grab the reins and pull back abruptly. The horse broke gait and Jessica fell forward onto his neck. Percy came to a reasonable stop that protected his inexperienced rider.

I figured that was a good place to reverse. The problem was the rider's and it could've taken a considerable amount of time to fix it. I didn't want to wear the horse out with the buyer stil wanting to ride so the best thing for Percy was just a short demonstration the second way.

That direction went pretty much like the first with one exception which came at the lope request. Going to the left had become the horse's hardest way as Richard rode him, just as it had become Vee's and that was the one we were now working.

I suspected this problem was related to the man's issues with his right leg since the more often he rode either horse, the more prominent the problem became. Once I realized Percy was developing this problem, I made sure Richard stayed off of him so it didn't get chronic like it had with Vee. Interestingly enough the few times either horse had been ridden after I left Opus Arabians and the lawsuit ensued, each horse had improved his/her ability to get the correct lead. Though neither was experienced enough to get that lead without being set up correctly first.

Jessica's poor balance and lack of experience made the likelihood of getting the horse set up pretty slim. It took about three tries for Percy to catch it correctly but to be candid, I was surprised he did at all.

Percy was a star. Now it was time for the woman to ride.

To be continued......

Green Horses and Strangers........


  1. He sounds like an amazing horse to be so green, he sure sounds like he sold himself if they knew anything about horses.
    Is that him in the pics

  2. Being so green, Percy was definitely a star to put up with all her riding issues. I've known experienced horses who wouldn't put up with that level of inexperience.

  3. Percy will always be special to me

  4. Love the photo!

    Great he was such a star :)

  5. What a great horse! It sounds like Jessica did her best considering her abilities.