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The Horse They Call Jayne

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        11-26-2011, 01:26 AM
    Originally Posted by horseluver2435    
    Firefly fan? I approve.
    Sounds like Jayne keeps you mighty busy! I know how the unbalanced circles feel- I'm working on balancing canter circles! Lots and lots of work will get you there. Good luck with Jayne!
    I hope so, and thank you!

    Today we had a wonderful moment where I asked him to move (just) his front end and he did! Both directions! I have hope for him. We also had maybe two or three trot strides that were actually under control and comfortable enough that I was actually able to move well with him. There were also a few good 'jog' strides, though since I had already asked him to transition down to a walk at that point, they caught me off guard. I WANT him to learn to do a western jog properly, but I also NEED him to transition when and to what I ask. I will have to think on this and actually be prepared next time rather than what I did today which was to let him go ahead and jog a little before asking for the walk again.

    I've ordered a french link snaffle. He's going much better in his hollow mouth than he was in the tom thumb I test rode him in, with much less head tossing. He's improving on his bridling manners by leaps and bounds as well. He still head tosses some with any real contact on both reins though, and while it may just be a combo of western horse, new/different concept, and attitude, I'll give him the benefit and try out something that shouldn't poke his palate/nutcracker so much.

    I'm thinking of just riding him in his halter in the arena for a while until we have better balance- I worry that being off balance will result in me ruining his mouth. He doesn't have a very good stop in the halter, but he does have one and I know we could make it better. Good idea? Bad idea? Dangerous idea?
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        11-27-2011, 10:57 PM
    Jayne seems to be making friends with one of the geldings. They were playing bite-kick-run-rear-bite games and hanging out together yesterday and were nearly cuddling when I went to get Jayne today. I think they've been grooming each other too since the base of Jayne's mane and withers are all gross with what looks like dried slobber. :/

    Had a little fun today. The trot itself is a little better on the straight, at least it's just a trot rather than running off now, though turning is still unbalanced as anything and our 'circles' don't look anything like a circle yet. I got so unbalanced while asking him to turn at a trot I cued him to canter, which he did, which was okay in the sense that his canter is way better than his trot and it helped me get back where I needed to be, but less good in that our downward transitions, which is what I was actually going for, are a little non-existent, and he turns like a motorcycle at everything other than a walk still. I put an "oh $h*t" strap on my saddle today, and it helped me stay out of his mouth at least, so I'm going to keep it for now. We will work on walk cues meaning walk now, rather than in 4-8 strides.

    Lots of turns and serpentines and we actually got turning on the hind from the saddle today! YAY! Next up- sidepass. And continuing work on his balance and strength. After about one and a half canter circuits of the arena he was ready to slow down today, so lots of strength work. We also got some actual, nice round circular 20m circles today! YAY! I'm probably imagining it, but I already think his top line is beginning to look better.
        11-30-2011, 11:44 PM
    Bareback today after my lesson yesterday. Just a couple short trotting bits, but definitely better. If I 'allow' him to break into a jog, it's nice and wonderful, if I 'ask' him to, it's a much bigger trot that I have trouble sitting. I think I need to refine cues a bit. He is SO wonderful about turning off of leg bareback though, he's much better trained on that than I am, in fact. We did get some more turns on the front and hind today to, so while he's not eager or super willing for them, I do feel confident that he knows what I am asking at this point so I can hold him to a standard of doing them, and learning to do them better.

    There was a new jump with a small portion of painted plywood in the arena today that he was pretty sure was going to eat him. Snorting and blowing and the whole bit, though only one sidestep/shy from it. Then I went and grabbed one of these Puffer Balls and tossed that all around him, bouncing it off of him and everything, and that was not the least bit unsettling, much contrary to my expectation that he would hit the roof.

    He had his feet trimmed yesterday and was only a little fidgety, which is very nice. Due to his previous history of not getting trimmed often, he has a little white line separation, but nothing the farrier thinks will be a problem now that he's getting on a regular schedule.
        12-02-2011, 02:01 AM
    My instructor got on Jayne and played around for a little bit. I was right! His trot IS that horrible- it's not just that I've forgotten everything I once knew about riding. Hehe. She suggested a running martingale to help keep him from throwing his head up in the air while trotting, and while it certainly makes sense to me, I'm going to wait a little while and try a) his new bit which should be coming sometime in the next couple of days and b) continuing to strengthen him through lots of bending and transitions. I see some lunge and round-pen work in our future too as she suggested that we spend the next lesson teaching me to teach him how to do those exercises.

    Her verdict- he's willing and honest, but still in need of a lot of polishing. CAN DO! :)

    And all this despite the fact that he's actually already gotten significantly better! Today when I asked for a trot, he did without it turning into a speed race. There were even TURNS! I DO give him voice commands while riding, and I think for our downward transitions he's going entirely off voice rather than seat still. Maybe I'll actually trot him all the way around the arena a couple of times this weekend if we can keep it down to a reasonable pace to help him work on his rhythm and cardio. Or figure 8s.

    His blanket came in the mail today too! I tried it on him (he was unfazed) and I worried it was too big at first, but once he put his head down to graze, it settled into its proper position and looks to be correct. His green saddle pad also came and his green fuzzytastic reins will be in the mail tomorrow! I look forward to dressing him up in his new shinies.
        12-03-2011, 09:47 PM
    Rain, rain, go away... well. Sort of. We are in desperate need of rain, but could it choose a weekday next time so I don't lose out on a day of riding? The pony was a bit of a mudball today in addition to having a big goose egg on his left hindquarters from a kick. No idea who got him, he's still the newbie outsider, so it could have been anyone.

    Jayne and I did some round pen work since the sand footing in there had drained and dried well. Walk, trot, I put some ground poles in there too. He looked gorgeous and balanced, though he couldn't keep it up for long. I'll see if I can get pictures tomorrow. Going to the right is his bad side, to the extent that if I ask him to pick up that lead, he struggles, fails, and then his brain exits the area and we have to start back with simple things he knows how to do to coax it back.

    I noticed sometimes he would JUMP into a trot, other times it was smooth. Not sure what that means. He also is bad about not stopping squarely- I've noticed it under saddle a lot, but it came out in the round pen today too. We did get some nice solid stops in the mix, so hopefully I can selectively reinforce those.

    I am still struggling to get him to trot on lead without sending him out to the end like I am lunging him first... sometimes I walk fast or jog while leading him, and he doesn't keep up. If I want to do some mini-endurance or other training type stuff, I need to teach him to trot behind/beside me while I run, and that it is OKAY for him to trot and keep up. I am hoping that continuing to train him to voice commands on the lunge will carry over.
        12-06-2011, 02:25 AM
    No pretty trot today, just stringy forehand messiness. :( Getting reliable on front and hind turns though, even under saddle, so I'm going to have to start getting picky with them and not allowing any forward/back jigging at the same time, which is a challenge for him because just STANDING is not something he does well. Not sure if it's because of nerves, training, or what, but standing quietly is on the 'to do' list. He doesn't stand still well even without a rider, he's constantly trying to DO something. Unfortunately standing quietly is not something I like working on personally... as necessary as it is, it's boring and repetitive. Unless he's really amped and jigging in place. Then it's funny, I laugh at him and remind him that he can work that hard or just stand- his option. Either way we're not going anywhere. Thankfully, he's not shown any inclination to try to go UP when the other directions are not options.

    He had a lightbulb moment with trotting on lead yesterday. It was fabulous, and I got my aerobic exercise in too, lol. I trimmed his mane a bit and blanketed him today. I don't know if he's ever had a blanket on him before last week when I tried his out and walked him in it for a few minutes. Hopefully it goes okay and I don't have a shredded turnout in the morning. He seemed completely unfazed, so I will keep thinking good thoughts.

    My package from horseloverz that I ordered on Black Friday still hasn't shipped. :(
        12-07-2011, 11:22 PM
    Ow... it is possible to pull whatever muscles attach to the inside of your seat bone? It didn't hurt while riding, but it sure does now. I cantered Jayne today, mostly because I wanted to, less because I wanted to teach anything. He did one lap to the left nicely and wanted to stop. But to the right... NO STEERING. Canter, then straight line to the fence while I am pulling for a right turn, then finally, while I'm wondering if he's just going plow into it, stop dead or turn suddenly (meanwhile I am imagining how much that fence is going to hurt), he gathers himself and makes a nice balanced little right turn. I think, "Oh, okay, here we are then, steering is back." Nope. Wrong. Straight into another arena corner again. Same thing, but I don't give him the rein back and keep him in a small circle until he realizes I'm asking him to stop. We'll get there.

    We also did some (more) trotting today, and he Put His Head Down! Hooray! Granted, he was rooting because he was irritated that I kept making him trot, especially in a circle to the right, his 'bad' direction, but still! The head went below withers level for the first time ever at a trot! Now if we can get that into a habit and not just happenstance.

    He's getting good at trotting on lead now and has NOT destroyed his turnout blanket (yet). We also had a couple of very nice straight stops today. I think working without stirrups and in just his nylon halter is helping us both- I'm not afraid of damaging his mouth, and he's not dealing with as much 'noise' from me on the reins.
        12-08-2011, 11:00 PM
    First lesson ON Jayne today. He was good. I was terrible. I've completely forgotten how to ride with stirrups. I felt like my legs were too high, I got tense against them, nearly launched myself off him the first time I tried to post. :/ Also, I'm always two steps late on looking where I am going.
        12-10-2011, 11:08 PM
    Rode yesterday in his halter. I got trotting CIRCLES to the left! Not so much to the right... those were still wonky shapes. But all of the trot was at a much more reasonable speed, in fact I had to push him to keep him from breaking down to a walk several times. His head was also much better positioned, not well positioned, not yet, but it was also not flying up in the air or getting tossed about, so I'll take it. We had one little half jump, half trot over a pole about 10" off the ground. Not sure why he decided to take it like that, but it was a pleasant surprise that it was relatively smooth anyway. We're just using ground and very low poles to remind the lazy boy that he must pick UP his feet.

    Today it was rain. Rain and cold wind. And very slick mud, so no riding. Maybe next time it can rain during the week and NOT when I have time to go for a nice long ride. This is two weekends in a row. I went to the feed store instead and stocked up on everything but hay for the next month and spent the day moving all his feed and tack and stuff to a new storage room since I plan to move to a different row in the barn. I will be sore tomorrow. Thank goodness for my pickup truck though.
        12-14-2011, 10:52 PM
    Rain. Mud. Rain. Mud. Boo.

    In the meanwhile I discovered that Jayne can stretch all the way past his stifle to get a cookie and he seems to like front leg stretches too. Since moving him, he and his new neighbor have been getting on well- they're like brothers. Half the time they love each other, half the time they seem to deliberately irritate each other.

    Today, thankfully, it was finally dry enough to go out! Another boarder and I went on a mini trail ride behind the facility next to some fields. Jayne was pretty good, though a little suspicious of the car bridge I asked him to cross while walking on the sidewalk. We passed a new housing development where men were working inside a house with lots of banging and hammering and such and he was NOT convinced that going anywhere near it was a good idea. Fortunately after only one attempt at turning away and some pretty insistent demands that he move on, he decided to do as asked. On the way back he tried the opposite tack and wanted to rush past it, but kept it to a quick walk. It was very good for both of us to get out, and the human company was nice as well.

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