Jewels: Obstacle Training

Jewels and I began a new training session this morning. I started with some ground work using a flag. We did some walk, trot and canter lessons for a short time. A few pressure and release exercises, moving her front and hind quarters, and finally side passing along the fence. Just enough to get her into a learning mode. It’s now time she moves on from the boring activity of the exercise pen. We finished setting up the obstacle course this weekend. It doesn’t consist of much, but it will work for the time being. We’ll grow it gradually as time goes on. I have all sorts of ideas for new ones, and my husband is pretty sharp about utilizing the materials we already have.

Jewels and I walked out to the big lot. She’s spent a couple of days nosing around and investigating the new obstacles. She didn’t seem to mind that they were occupying her space, so I’ve been feeling pretty confident now she will do things she’s never done before. We began a few circles on a lunge line near the teeter bridge. She’d already been over it without a saddle on. She didn’t even balk at it the first go around. While circling the area, I directed her onto the bridge. She went over the low side first, then the high side. It didn’t bother her at all. I even asked her to stop on it and let it teeter back and forth. I got this, mom. No problem! I asked her to step off and lunge circles, again.

We slowly worked our way over to the logs. She went over those with much forward propulsion. I’m glad to see she doesn’t hollow her back out any longer. She just floats over the ground effortlessly. Jewels is finally graceful while traveling along and she looks to be rocking back on her rear end as she moves forward. It’s beautiful to watch. I’ve noticed when asked, she picks up the inside hind foot to push off in to canter. Another lovely move on her part. I drove her over to the big jump and worked a few circles around it. When asked to take the jump she flew over it with ease. We changed directions and she went over it again. I felt that was enough obstacle course for the day.

We finished out our session with some riding skills. Our transitions from a walk to a slow trot are a bit rough right now, so we’re working on that.  I’m also trying to get her head vertical and looking through the bridle without being heavy handed on the reins. I’m trying to apply as little pressure as possible when changing gaits with a slight pressure and release on the bit.  We stop if she propels forward to fast and start again. She has a naturally fast ground covering walk and trot. I don’t want her to forget it, however, I do want her to put it in low gear when asked. All in all we did great today. Every time I work with Jewels, she gets better and better.  My diamond in the rough.

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"It's better to ride even if you get thrown, then to wind up just wishing you had." - Chris LeDoux.
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