Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amatures built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.

Amazing day today :)

So lets start w/ Smokey... Jump school... And I have to admit he totally and completely suckered me. Beyond suckered me actually. Usually I can tell when a horse is trying to get the better of me, but no, I freely admit I was completely oblivious here...

hahahha so what happened? Well his owner doesn't jump, so everything's new to him, so I've only been jumping him over very little fences (E height or so). And honestly, I figured that was about all he had. He's incredibly honest, but we *barely* clear them, and while he's got good form, I was not convinced there was much there.

Uh huh. Well today I was riding w/ a girl who was making a sales vid for her horse (who's ready to upgrade to T) -- so the fences were quite a bit bigger than we usually do (she got up to almost 4')... I was fully expecting them to be dropped for us, but no. When it was my turn it was just my turn (well all except the 4' one -- it got significantly lowered :)... Ummmm ok... hahaha well sure enuff the little goofball can JUMP! hahaha and *barely* clears every one. What it comes down to is he's smart and lazy. So he expends the bare minimum of effort req'd to get over each fence. But some of those fences were a decent size, including one wicked skinny brush oxer -- wasn't the biggest, but was a whole lot more technical than anything he's seen and still reasonably sized -- enough that on other days we were always told to skip it, and he stalled before it but still made it over.

hahaha so of course now I'm wondering just how high he *can* jump A couple pics here if you're interested:

Anyways, as previously mentioned, the girl I was riding w/ was making a sales vid -- so May was there filming. And when they were done, May filmed my last couple rounds (she also took the still FB pics earlier in the ride). Always good to see video of your ride; you can learn from video of your ride. Right, what I didn't expect was to watch the video WITH Denny. That is an entirely different experience *g* hahaha yup, when I went over to do late night I brought my little flash drive up to get the pics from May, but she didn't have the vid on her computer... No no, it's hooked up to the tv and ready to go... From Denny "You really should watch this. Would you like some wine?" hahaha n all I could think was 'uh oh, am I going to need it?' :) But no it was good. Intense, but good :) Went over what was good, not so good, and what was greatly improved from previous but still in need of work... Since this was the first I'd heard of anything improving that part of things was nice *g* N of course Denny's really sharp so between me being a smart ass and him flipping between being a serious coach and joking around it was somewhat entertaining. Way more useful than the "watch the vid @ home alone" in that when I do that, I can only see what I *know* I do wrong. Watching w/ your coach you can see the things you don't know about and also get the more objective view that can also see the good.

And then there was Miss Sienna. W/ her, at the end of a *very* long session I got told "It started out really bad, and ended up really good. You did your job." And theoretically if I do it again tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow we'll slowly get somewhere. Teaching her to both lunge and longline... She's *really* not into the whole lunging thing, but was remarkably tolerant about longlining. The catch is that I have never longlined b4 (have asked several of my coaches to teach me and always get "oh sure, no problem" but never any follow through... And yes I know it's not rocket science, but I'd still rather learn to do it right!) Whereas here, on a horse who doesn't know how to do it I get to learn. Green on green. We all know where that leads! hahaha Classic eh? So given that it was her first time ever doing it, and I have NO experience, Denny was the one steering...

So for the curious -- intro to long-lining. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

Step 1 -- lunge till horse chills. Change direction and repeat process.
Step 2 -- move around till horse is ok w/ you being diagonally behind her.
Step 3 -- tie stirrups to girth, run lungeline on offside through stirrup w/ "driver" behind horse and slightly offside. Person two has a leadline on the nearside at the bit. Driver walks behind horse to nearside and lets horse get used to feel of lungeline around hocks etc...
Step 4 -- 2nd lungeline on nearside, through stirrup to driver.
Step 5 -- 2nd person leads horse around w/ driver following.
Step 6 -- Driver takes over commands w/ 2nd person just as backup.
Step 7 -- 2nd person detaches leadline and gets out of the way.
Step 8 -- Driver now under control.

It was a complete non-issue for Sienna. She was a little puzzled at times, but not particularly stressed about it. And after *this* game, I finally got to get on. (it's been like a week :) Got told "treat her like she's two and you've *just* backed her". So that's the route we're taking, and I suspect it's exactly the right way to go. Take longer and tons of patience, but I think I'll have a much more confident horse in the end. Did a lot of walking around, changing direction, etc etc. There was none of the "won't go right" (I wasn't allowed to get back on till we could lunge w/o any sign of that -- hence the wk off... And Denny was standing where he would be if he were lunging, still holding the lunge whip "just in case" -- but wasn't necessary). Lots of greenbean steering (wide opening rein etc) and since she's uber-sensitive to the leg, I was mostly just trying to get her used to it being there. But in general I was really happy w/ her. Once the longlinging is a little more established, Denny wants me to longline her all around the xc course and across the bridge to where Smokey lives... hahaha could be entertaining. But she's been totally kewl w/ everything like that I've tried w/ her in hand (up and down banks, over the ditch, etc etc) so I don't expect an issue.

The one thing I was both happy and a *little* concerned about is that she is ridiculously fit! Smokey gets ridden 5-6 days/wk, and I still have to give him extended breaks after most courses to get his breath. Sienna has lived in a field the last year, galloped around like an idiot for half an hour (literally) and it took less than a minute for her pulse and respiration rate to go back to resting. Absolutely insane. Sweats up a fair amount, but her breathing and heartbeat show no signs of stress. N while this will prob be a huge advantage once I can actually ride her, right now it's really making things a whole lot more difficult since the "tire them out" theory of horse training really can't be applied! hahaha Gotta love TBs!


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