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The Horse They Call Jayne

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    01-03-2012, 02:08 AM
Yesterday was a layzeeee day. Went out, caught, brushed and cleaned, then turned him out in the grassy side paddock while I read a book and kept a loose eye on him (the fence is lacking in a couple spots). He grazed, mostly staying in my general area. I went to catch him, he trotted off, I followed him for about 10 seconds, then he turned to face me properly, so I went up, scratched him and then sat back down and read some more. Then I 'caught' him a couple more times for practice between chapters, though he just stood there.

Today was an exercise in distractions. TWO horses were in the arena with us (it's plenty big enough), one of whom he did not know, which was cause for plenty of interest and snorting on his end, AND the horses in the pasture that borders the arena were running and bucking and raising a ruckus. There were also some human spectators. We 'worked' on bending and stopping properly, but really just worked on the concept of paying attention and staying focused even with distractions. The "worst" (in quotes since it wasn't really that bad) he was happened when we were at the pasture end of the arena and the herd galloped by- he tried to lope off with them, though a one rein stop (another skill we're working on) ended that right quick.

He was super affectionate today though- doing his best imitation of a puppy dog, hanging out with me, offering to try to groom me, and following me about. Everyone who meets him comments on some variation of "nice, sweet, easy going, etc" which I take as a very good sign that it's not just proud mama syndrome that I think so.
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    01-11-2012, 10:44 PM
Jayne continues to be fantastic, and I seem to have taught him to lift up each hind leg when I rub his stifle... though I was TRYING for carrot stretches, lol. He does stretch, but seems to have decided my goal is to get him to touch his nose to his stifle and lifting his leg up as high and forward as he can makes it easier to do. Kind of hilarious and unintentional, but I'm going with it because it does make me laugh. He's getting better all around, and I am improving somewhat, slowly. My horse is just AMAZINGINGLY willing. He tries, and tries and will try again to figure out and then do what I want, no matter what it is. Hopefully I can get good enough to deserve such a good horse.

I've taken to singing "twinkle, twinkle, little star" while I ride. Stupid, but much harder to be tense and hold my breath at the same time, so it works. Next up, NOT looking at the ground every time I ask him to turn.

He needs his teeth done badly. I was hoping to get them done by now, but as I have to borrow and beg a ride for him to the folks that do it, I have to go with when I can get. Looks like it will be done within the next four weeks though. Thankfully. He's still gaining weight and muscle even so.
    01-22-2012, 09:23 PM
Neither I nor Jayne fell off the planet, but I was away for a week, so nothing doing and he got a nice rest. Today we went for a nice ride on the beach, and other than a terrifying horse eating 10ft wide kite, all was well. He is really coming along well and I am nearly happy with his weight and muscle, though the real tell will be when he sheds out his winter coat and I get to see what's underneath!

Getting his teeth done has taken much longer to get in than I anticipated, but we have an appointment for the weekend after next, so at least is is finally set and going to get done. There have been some upsets at the barn with one horse being euthanized for medical reasons, another changing owners and stalls, but staying in the barn, and two new horses coming in last weekend. Fortunately they seem to be well socialized horses and I haven't seen any marks from any scuffles, though I do think they're causing a stir and everyone's getting run around a bit since there have been some unusually sweaty looking ponehs when they come in for the night.

After a week off, I think I might be pretty sore tomorrow...
    02-18-2012, 08:42 PM
Fell off the internets for a while there, and likely will be off for a while in the future, but Jayne and I continue to do well. He is so fit now compared to when I got him, he doesn't even look the same. He has a lot more sass now too, perhaps unsurprisingly, but is still eager to work and learn.

Sadly enough most of the past three weeks have been muddy, slick and disgusting when it comes to riding. We did get in a little bit of a two hour trail ride yesterday before the heavens opened up again. Despite our buddy being a little bit excitable, he was a perfect gentleman. Asked for a trot a couple of times and got one without asking a couple of times, but it still is very tough for him to stay focused at anything more than a walk on the trail and he goes into his horrible, jouncy imitation of a trot. In the arena we're doing much, much better, and have a nice trot, even with a little bending most days.

We're getting there.
    04-14-2012, 05:45 PM
Busy, busy times with the horse and in life in the past couple of months. We went out on a big group trip trail ride with dozens of other horses, worked near some cows in a hay field, met donkeys and mules, and learned that we can go faster than a walk while still keeping the brains (mostly) between the ears. We also learned some speed control and the start of a decent jog.

We also had a "rider being less smart than the horse" day when I rode him bareback out into the field and he got pissy about me not letting him run back to the barn. He ducked left and gave a tiny little buck that set me forward and off balance. I chose between fighting him and pulling myself back into the right place and went with the latter. He took me essentially tossing away the reins as permission to do whatever he wanted (which, honestly, it pretty nearly was) and took off galloping back to the barn with me hanging on his neck. Scary at the time for me, but luckily he's not a spooky or stupid horse and just ran through a couple open gates, back to the barn, and up to the stalls before stopping and standing quietly. I grabbed the reins back up and asked him to walk, bend, etc and he was perfectly willing and calm. Then he got to exercise in the round pen a little... because hey, if he wants to run back at the barn, we can totally do that.

So, on the "bad" side, I let him practice running back to the barn by not anticipating him wanting to and then tossing the reins. On the "good" side, I didn't come off, I (unintentionally) galloped my horse bareback for the first time (fun only after the fact), and my horse proved to me again that he's not generally a "freak out and run through/over the fence/stop dead" kind of guy.

The next day we had some schooling on NOT running back to the barn/gate/other place you would rather be than working and he was perfect. Like "Who, me?" and never offered any attitude or resistance at all... he knew I was ready for him, the little stinker. :)
    05-15-2012, 10:44 PM
Good day today! While nothing was perfect and pretty, we got some turns both ways on the front and on the hind, some controlled trotting for a couple strides at a time before trying to rush, and some good stops. We also got a reasonable lope to the left and about three strides to the right, which is his bad direction. His remarkably-surprisingly-way-worse-than-the-other side. To the left, okay, need some work on rating the speed and bending at the same time, but not a problem. Right? You mean bend my neck right while I go in a straight line on the left lead? Wait? You don't? Omgwtfbbqflail. So getting about three strides correct was HUGE, and hopefully something we can build on.
    06-18-2012, 09:51 PM
Sunday and Today.

Sunday, went for a trail ride on the inlet of the bay. A nice round five miles round trip. Pony was very brave when we found some knee-deep sand/silt/mud was between us and our destination- plowed on through, right up to cantering nicely next to the lead horse in it. I may have been more worried than he was, he never even thought about doing anything foolish or balking.

Today we cantered around the arena three times in each direction, and when I asked him to stop (in the corner he likes to ignore me in) he was very happy to do so. I may have to make that the 'resting' corner rather than the 'ignore all cues from the rider and try to get out of it' corner. We were still pretty awful about staying near the rail going to the left though- kept trying to veer in and break down to a trot, but at least I finally have worked up the skill/confidence to correct him on both together rather than bailing on my demand of him entirely and changing plans. So continuous canter for more than a side and a half is a bit new for us. I also did some trotting transitions without holding onto my oh sh!t strap, which is a terrible habit I developed when he was lurching into the trot so badly... he's better now, and so I need to be too.
    07-05-2012, 11:20 PM
Quarter Horse Horse for Sale in Hamilton, Texas

I found Jayne's for sale ad from back in the day!
    07-16-2012, 01:03 AM
Galloped the boy on the beach today- it took four tries before he really cut loose and kicked it into that last gear. It was interesting to really feel that difference in his stride between his extended canter/hand-gallop and when he really kicked it up and started running. He's fast! :) I don't think I saw his 'top speed' today, but it was fabulous to add running to the list of things we do as previously the only times he'd run were when he was bolting and running off with me... obviously not my idea then. He did get a bit rushy after, just like he has any time we add something new to the repertoire, and went back to his head tossing and other bit-evasion baloney, but he settled down after a little bit. All in all, pretty typical when he gets over exited or we do something new.
    07-29-2012, 11:00 PM
Jayne had all of last week off, save for a quick 20 min walk last Saturday, because I was too busy at work and home to do much out at the barn. Friday he got shod on the fronts. Yesterday he had to get back to work. We did a nice little 5 mile ride and he was a perfect gentleman and role model, couldn't have asked for him to do better, though he was still very cautious over the short gravel section of trail.

Today he had to do a little more work- we went out with a just-turned 5 year old. We went out to the beach, down and around and they were both very good, though I think the heat had them both in it's thrall since they were both doing the 'death walk' away from the barn. He did actually run when I asked him to though, without a lot of pressure, which was kind of neat to feel. He did spook through some rocks and brush and cut his rear cannon a bit. It stopped bleeding quickly though and he was never lame, so it ought to heal well. He does have a sore spot on his back that I'm a bit more worried about. His saddle seems to fit, and he's never had an issue before, so we'll keep a close eye on it and hope he just pulled it a bit when we got a little stuck in the mud...

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