Friday, March 20, 2009

Lessons and a Choke Update

So, I've been meaning to get this post up all week, but I've just been too lazy, to be quite honest. But, it's the end of the week and I'm feeling good, so I thought I should get it up before I forget completely what I was even going to blog about!

First I'll tell you about Choke. She's coming along nicely, and TJ told me the most exciting news! Ready for it?? Choke has an adopter, already lined up!!! I was so happy to hear that. Choke's adopter plans to be the highest bidder after the Challenge and then keep her in training with TJ for another year. She'll have one heck of a horse when TJ's through with her! I hope this wasn't a secret or anything... But I thought it was great news!

Anyway, I have a short video from last Sunday of Choke and TJ outside, I just have to get it uploaded to YouTube. Watch for it here within the next couple of days. The weather was really nice and Choke was feeling pretty good. TJ showed me the things they've been working on. She is getting started on flying changes and I didn't have the video going when TJ showed me what she could do. She is getting there, but I didn't catch a clean one on video. I am sure she'll have it down by the Horse Fair. She moves off of leg really well and seems like a really nice ride. Very responsive and soft. TJ hasn't talked too much about what he'd do if he made it into the top ten, but I know that is his goal ( I'm sure it's every trainer's goal!). As long as Choke can handle the crowds, I think he's got a pretty good chance.

Last Sunday I also had a reining lesson. We've been working on stops for the past 3 lessons so that is what we started out with that day. Rem was a little bit wiggly to start with, but after a few times down and back he remembered what we were doing. Since Rem has never fenced before, we were only working on going long, from one end of the arena to the other. Well last lesson he was finally ready to stop short, in the middle of the arena. In order to get a good, powerful stop, your horse has to be moving forward freely, and straight, so taking them all the way from one end to the other gets them thinking about that. When they are doing that comfortably you can ask them for a stop before you get to the wall. The first time I did that, Rem wasn't expecting it so he kind of ran through it, but that was to be expected. So I asked him to move forward and stopped him short again and one more time before we reached the wall. The next time we went short it was much better.

The second half of the lesson we worked on rollbacks. Our riding instructor has had us back our horses up after every stop so that they are thinking back before they even come to a stop. In order to do our rollbacks we are supposed to have our horses backing off of our leg on a loose rein. I wasn't sure if Rem would understand this concept right away, but he did really well... after I was shown how to use my spurs correctly.

His rollbacks were good once I figured out how to ask properly. I almost got left behind on one of them and my butt slammed into the cantle of my saddle. It was pretty cool to feel how powerful a correct rollback is!

I am going to make an honest effort to blog more than once a week now that it's getting nicer out. I only rode one morning this week, but I'm hoping to start riding at least 3 times during the week and then both days on the weekends. We'll see what happens :-) That's all I've got for now.

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