Monday, July 7, 2008

Find the center revisited

We rode a lot this weekend. I had to come to the office for a short time on Friday and as soon as I got home we went out. We found ourselves near the Little League field and there was a tournament going on so we went over and had a soda at the snack bar and let the horses cool off a bit. Some of the kids came around to see the horses. They enjoyed their time in the shade. It's pretty hot here and Jessie and I had been working on the find-the-center exercise (again).

We rode by the dairy and the cows gave us all a thrill. The horses kept their eyes on them, Jessie more than Dusty. I tried some roll backs into the fence to regain her attention. It's so difficult. Sometimes I get the feeling she doesn't even realize I'm on her back.

We tried the FTC exercise again on the way home. Still no hints that she is getting it. Saturday we went out to the stables by the river and rode with some of Ranae's friends. It was a nice, easy ride with some different horses and I think it was good for them. Ranae's friend's horse spooked at a squirrel and Jessie took one little start and then stood there. Their horses hadn't been out much and they had their dog with them and so they headed back early. We went a little farther out and then Ranae and I split up. Jessie gets very worried when she knows there is another horse out there and she can't see it. This is quite different than when we go out alone and she is just not paying attention to me ;>) We were separated for about 5 minutes (Ranae did a loop around a grove of trees), when we got back I loped Jessie around them for a few circles and took her away to rest. I really don't think it made an impression.

Back at the stables we used one of the arenas for more FTC thinking that an arena might help. It didn't. I had Ranae watching me, I've looked at the lesson on DVD three times, it was 95 degrees and I was loping her and she wasn't paying attention to a thing "we" were doing. I stopped and let her rest a couple of times at the center cone thinking she would connect to it, but to no avail.

Sunday, the girls went out for their ride and I took Jessie to one of two FTC workout spots. I decided not to use my spurs and see if that made any difference. It didn't. We worked for about 25 minutes at the first spot then worked on transitions and vertical flexion to the second spot. We worked on FTC for another 25 minutes and there were hints of getting it but still nothing I could say was an "I got it" moment. We worked on some backing up and side-passing trying to end on something she does well, then we headed back. She was pretty sweaty. So was I.

Even though it was a bit disappointing, I have every confidence she will get it. This is probably the toughest exercise we've done so far. She had a pretty tough time with yielding forequarters and eventually she got it. I'm sure she'll eventually get this one too. Sometimes I wonder if I'm working her too hard. We rode pretty good 5 out of the last 7 days. Then I hear this little Aussie voice whisper in my ear, "If she's got enough energy to do the wrong thing...".

This week they've scheduled some incredibly hot weather so the best times will be our early mornings. I gave her Monday off again and I'm hoping to ride early Tuesday and Wednesday if I can drag my ass out of bed ...
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