10-22-2013, 10:51 PM
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Worked Willow for the first time out of the round yard today; which meant introducing her to our jumping arena and all the loud noises and distractions that came along with it. She was a complete star, I couldn’t have asked for her to be more cooperative. At first she was very hesitant, having not being lunged she was a baby and not particularly enjoying that experience – but she quickly learned. I think having her in a paddock near the road has also helped as she has had the opportunity hear and hopefully zone out all of the ‘white noise’. Willow has a good rein, and a very bad rein. I started her off on her good rein to build her confidence and understanding of the concept and she did very well. Even did a small amount of canter; which I was very pleased about occurring to how unbalanced it is.
Put her on her ‘very bad rein’ and she instantly became very unbalanced and lacking in trust in herself. Thankfully, she is already beginning to trust me and with encouragement I had her trotting around nicely. It was a little rushed and unbalanced – but an improvement on what she started with. I think already Willow is the type of horse that will benefit a lot from rider support. However, I am wanting to keep up with the lunging sessions to allow her to learn that it is okay to trust her own judgement in things. She had a few ‘freak outs’ at particularly loud cars or trucks that went past; all she did was prance around on her back legs a little. But I focused on ignoring it and verbally encouraging her to go forward. I want her to eventually learn that these things are actually not that big of a deal.
Fitted her to her new bridle and it suits her beautifully; she is an excellent horse to bridle and very accepting of the bit in that sense.
I decided to challenge Willow today and test out her jumping experience over some small fences on the lunge. She coped better than I had expected in the end; but of course she had her baby moments along the way. Started her out on her ‘good rein’ again and she picked it up quickly. Her canter was pretty much the same as yesterday, but I was pleased to see she balanced herself fairly quickly. She popped over the cross-rail nicely, although she lacked in ‘style’ but over a jump that small it did not give her much opportunity and I didn’t expect much in the terms of performance – I was looking for confidence. When I made it a small vertical; the confidence she previously presented with quickly disappeared. She threw in a few ‘dirty’ stops and had some decent slides. But again, she quickly learnt that there was nothing to be afraid of and popped over it a few times. She loses her ‘motion’ a bit in front of the jump though; however, I think with a rider encouraging her to go forwards with her seat would quickly teach her otherwise. Again, she just needs to build her confidence.
Unfortunately, when I swapped to her bad rein another rider came out and she became more focused on them, rather than me. Having not been worked with other horses since she arrived meant she was eager to check out what they were doing. Jumping her on her ‘bad rein’ was more difficult because of this and because she was just generally unbalanced. But I wanted to do a little bit of it; to even things out. She was very un-confident on this rein and struggled to even go over the cross-rail. To encourage her, I ended up leading her over it and showing her there were no scary monsters that were going to jump out and eat her. Rewarding her is a big thing for her; she is very body language and voice motivated – so telling her she is a good girl and giving her a pat really does go a long way. Ended up getting her to trot over it in a semi-confident manner and ended on a good note. Overall; a good day.
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