Monday, January 31, 2011

If Jessie Had My Dog's Rollback

We would win every competition that scored for rollbacks. Max has the perfect rollback. It's up on his back end and it's 180 degrees and perfect. Ah, if it were only transferable.

It's been cold and damp with fog here all week. The Tule fog we are known for in this area seeps through your clothes, clenches whatever warmth you have, and yanks it right out of you. By the afternoon it had warmed up enough to try and ride. Ranae was staying in the house, so I thought we would just go over to the old alfalfa field for a few exercises - just to get a ride in. The neighbors were dragging the pen where we usually do our groundwork and I just did a little "check-up" in the yard before leaving.

Jessie walked out to the field nice and calmly. When we got there the fallow field was now oozing with about ten inches of wild, yummy, green, green grass just for the taking. We started trotting around and Jessie could not believe her good fortune. I had brought her out here - alone - so she could have all this grass herself! Her trot was fast and excited as she was looked around and I countered with the serpentine exercise. Every time I brought her head from one side to the other she would drop it and try for a bite of grass. About the third change of direction SHE decided to demonstrate her frustration by kicking up. I gave her a strong correction by yielding hindquarters and we started again. Apparently, my correction had not been strong enough because she immediately did it again. I made her hustle pretty good (or so I thought) doing both sides this time. After the third time, I moved her off the grass and made her hustle. Now, the ride wasn't much fun anymore (for me anyway. She was having a great time). I decided to get off an make her work really hard. I started lungeing her and the first three or four changes of direction were a rodeo. She reared big time, pulled back (I had gloves on and went with her), and kicked up. I just kept doing it because "heart attacks are free". After about five minutes I did some desensitizing, then some backing up and then back to the lungeing. The second time around was much smoother and quieter and I had most of my horse back. She was still tight and now my boots were wet from tromping around in the tall, wet grass. I baited her to take a bite of the grass and she passed. I got back on and walked her around the the outskirts of the field moving in and out of the grassy areas. I didn't really want get into another battle of wills just then, though looking back perhaps I should have. It was getting dark and we headed back home where I worked with her in our yard, which has grass just obviously not as tasty, and we ran through four or five exercises very nicely. I tied her up to the patience pole for about an hour before feeding her.


The forecast called for rain. It was cloudy and had sprinkled early in the morning, but the temperatures were noticeably warmer. About 11:30 we decided the rain couldn't hurt us more than not riding, so we headed out. About a mile out, there was a fairly strong and steady sprinkle. It looked like it was passing through so, as quickly as we could, we headed for the one tree on our route that could offer protection. We stood there for a few minutes then headed further out to the development. I loped Jessie around and she did very well. The circles were a bit awkward with inconsistent speed, but loping a big rectangle was much better. She kept her lines much straighter and her speed was more consistent. We did a few side-passing games and backing up then headed for home.

About two blocks from home it started to rain steadily. By the time we made it through the gate is was raining hard. By the time we got them untacked and put away, it was really coming down. By the time we got in the house and into dry clothes it had stopped. Later Sunday evening it really poured and there was half an inch of rain in my gauge. But, at least, we got our ride in!
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