Two Real Rides Down!

     So with the big move last weekend, I never got to write about the awesome session Jellybean, Robert, and I had last Thursday! I decided we would completely tack Jellybean up (saddle, bridle, boots, etc) and then give her a brief lunging. I tied her to the side of the round pen, because I want to get in the habit of her standing tied before being tacked up. I brushed her and picked her feet before putting on her boots. She didn’t like the boots at first, but she is much happier with them after wearing them a few times. There was some hilarity as she jumped around and tried to kick them off. I saddled up the pony, and she did just fine. As for the bridling (number 2), she opened her mouth and seemed a bit surprised when a bit appeared. She remembered it didn’t matter fairly quickly though, and moved along with her day. 

     Once Jellybean was dressed we worked on some lunging work and walked, trotted, and cantered around on command. She relaxed right into her work and had a great attitude, even as the other horses around the round pen tried to distract her. After our warm up, Robert came into the round pen and helped me to push Jellybean over to the rail so I could step over and sit on her. I got my feet into the stirrups as Jellybean waited patiently. Then Robert moved to the center of the round pen and moved Jellybean forward. We tried to stimulate the lunging we normally do with the walk. So we continued walking around and then worked on turning. So when Robert asked her to change directions, I reinforced the cue with the reins and a supporting leg. 

     Jellybean picked this up very quickly, since we worked on ground driving several times in her lessons. We also worked on stopping, with Robert dropping the whip and me putting pressure on the reins. I dismounted, and she was done. She looked comfortable and pleased, and it was an excellent experience!!

     So that happened last week, and then I didn’t get to write with the busy-ness of the move. But last night we built on this lesson and tried to move forward. It was a fairly stormy afternoon, and I wasn’t completely sure Jellybean would be calm enough to work. However, we decided to try anyways and had pretty good results. 

    We tacked her up in the same way as last time, with the only difference being her increased energy level as a storm rumbled in (or around… this is Texas after all). She got a longer lunge workout than normal and then I mounted. We worked on the same walking, turning, stopping drill as last time. I think halfway through she was bored with the lesson, because she started being more reactive in her turns. She trotted off with me a couple of times, and didn’t seem terribly keen on the extra bouncing weight… We regrouped and then I refocused her energy by working on turning without Robert’s help. He did have to help me give her a little more pep in her step, as she did not want to move without a little whip encouragement.

     After some more turning, and a lot of calm voice talking, I dismounted and untacked Jellybean. She was excellent, and was then rinsed off. She had her hooves hydrated as Robert cleaned her house a bit. All in all, it was super ride! I think the next few rides will be reinforcing the turning and stopping, then we might start working towards trotting around a little bit.

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