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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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This is Jesse, a beautiful Appendix Quarter Horse mare. I first met her when she was a few months old and she came to live with me as a long yearling.She was orphaned at birth. She is now four years old.
We have worked on many different things during our time together, both on the ground and saddled. Jesse is very smart and generally a good worker!

We have been working on our own and recently with a local trainer who is also named Jesse! Today, with the recent heat and humidity abated, we are going for a walk and a short training ride in the round pen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Now its go time. We ride! Just a short ride today because Jesse is getting over some allegies that made her cough like crazy when we rode a couple of days ago. Some bunny hops and head shaking attitude means Jesse doesn't get a peppermint today! We ended on a good note with some walking and a proper whoa. Jesse is still a good girl!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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This is Nicki. My beautiful 7 year old Quarter Horse mare. She came to live with me as a long yearling. She is very opinionated and sassy.We worked on the ground almost every day for a couple years,even if it was just going for a walk in the woods and when she was three years old,we started riding some. We bonded tightly and we can't be apart from one another for very long. At our previous property, she would walk with me at liberty in the creek on hot days or on the back lawn with no fences. She is what you would call my heart horse. We can tell what the other is thinking.
Today, Nicki and I are puttering around on a maintenance ride, after several days off due to heat and humidity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Off we go! Nicki has always been spooky and some rides got pretty hairy. I have tried different ways to prevent or reduce the spook but to no avail. Recently , I read a post right here on the forum that helped me alot. It was by Cherie and it was advising someone in the same boat as I am what to do. Drive the horse forward and keep the head down. Well, it worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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Today we are riding again! It has been very hot and humid the past couple of weeks and Jesse and I have been trotting in the round pen. It's been way too hot to take pictures. Just get the lesson done and we are both soaked in sweat when its over! Can someone take this heavy humidity away? Jesse has been doing really well and seems to be quite proud of herself. I 'make much' of her performance and give her lots of rubs and praise. We can trot all the way around the round pen.

Tacking up, I noticed the bot fly has been busy laying eggs on Jesse. They eggs are tiny and straw-colored and are difficult to remove. You may be able to see them in the picture of her leg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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It's a little cooler today with the cloudcover but still obnoxiously humid and damp. Jesse had the last three days off because of my work schedule and the crazy oppressive atmosphere.
We start by lunging and Jesse walks,trots and canters,turns in and changes directions like a pro!
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Now it's time to don the helmet and mount up. Helmet was left out in a thunderstorm last evening and never dried out. Yuck! I hate humid swampy weather!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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We have been lunging and riding in a rope halter up until our lesson with the trainer last Wednesday. Now we wear a bit and bridle! Jesse has had experience with bit and bridle so it's an easy transition.
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We spend some time trotting and turning. Jesse is a champ! Sit deep in the saddle,weight in the stirrups and slight back on the reins and "whoa". Jesse comes to a stop! I love my Jesse! Time for a well-earned peppermint!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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Lesson at the Trainers arena this morning! According to the weather service,the humidity has dropped to 99%! Wow,what a relief! This morning I am making excuses why I rode Jesse only a couple of times the past 6 days since I had my last lesson. Heat and humidity!
My Trainer says Jesse must be ridden more than that. Real cowboys ride in the heat and humidity.
She is right ,of course. I must improve my game. You can see I am not a real cowboy because I am wearing shorts.

Today I feel 'off' my rhythm and unbalanced while I am riding. I dont know why,just a tense feeling and it translates into my lesson in a negative fashion.

Jesse and I trot and steer around cones and through poles and I think she did well considering my riding. The final ten minutes was spent walking in an adjacent field. Jesse's first ride outside an arena or round pen!! Good girl, Jesse!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Plant Plant community Ecoregion Natural landscape Tree
Horse Plant Liver Working animal Grass

Today, Nicki is going through a de-spookifying process. We choose a known scary location and walk the heck out of it. This little path through the front field has always caused fear and loathing for Nicki. Hand-walking has advantages for me since I can go exactly where I want without much of an argument. Nicki learned that even if I am not carrying a training stick, I can quickly make one out of a tree branch! I rarely carry one anymore.

So,with a resigned expression on her face,we walk around the field two times. Interestly, she will gently touch my arm with her muzzle when we enter a 'scary" area or if she spots something she feels I should know about. She will shake her head and open her mouth by my ear as if she wants to bite if I choose to walk into the 'really scary' areas like where water comes out of the hillside and makes the ground mushy. She knows better than to bite but expresses her displeasure with my decision making ability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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We ride the field with no spook!
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We look into the woods of the neighbors property. Our neighbor gave us permission to ride in his wooded property.
Plant Horse Tree Working animal Horse tack
Curiously,this is where Nicki shines. In here,we are the hunters. We can chase deer and track animals. Nicki moves out with confidence and if we stop,it's because she wants me to look at something important, like a porcupine.
Horse Plant Tree Working animal Leaf
We are very fortunate to be able to ride here. It is a beautiful,peaceful location and this morning was fun!
Hand Plant Light People in nature Dog
I sprayed her legs before we rode but its always a good idea to check for ticks when we are out of the woods!

Update on Jesse. Last week her left hind swelled up between the ankle and the knee from a strain or sprain so she is off work and riding until next week. She is improving daily. We can't wait to return to riding and learning!
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Nicki and I have ridden together the last three days in a row and I have noticed a reduction of spookiness. This morning we went up the road to the base of the mountain and around our front field (of unmentionable terrors lol) with no spook to speak of! We rode past the pool which truly is a horrible sight with green water,dead bugs and grass clippings. A bit of balk at this location was overcome with leg pressure and some soothing words.
I did not bring my phone and so : no pictures! Near the base of the mountain there are some interesting sights so next time I will take some pictures.
With no silly spooky behavior to contend with, I was fortunate enough to concentrate on my balance,posture,keeping heels down,eyes up

and light hands. Captain Caprilli would have been pleased! Balance is critical with Nicki because she has a barrel shaped body and the saddle will rotate no matter how tight the girth is cinched. Nicki is careful to tell me when I am approaching ' too tight'!

Jesse has been giving me the look lately. She says ' I'm all better,can we ride?' I took her for a walk in-hand yesterday and she seemed fine with no swelling and a normal gait. This morning, we saddled up and walked and trotted in the round pen. Transitioning to the trot ,she would drop her head and bounce like she wanted to buck but I just growled,applied more leg and rode through it. She seemed to trot just fine. After about 10 minutes,we walked over to see Nicki but she ignored us. I was calling to her ' hey look, Jesse and I are riding!' but I think she knew I was pushing her buttons. No phone and no pictures but a great morning in the saddle nonetheless!

Last week, I had begun work on sliding barn doors and my wife had rigged up a hammock between two large pines near the barn. She absolutely adores the five barn cats we got a couple of months ago. After we installed the doors yesterday afternoon,she had a siesta in the hammock with two of her favorites! Those lazybones!
Road surface Building Shade Wood Asphalt


The doors are lightweight and are clear to let as much natural light into the bottom of the barn as possible. When nor'easters hit us ,the driving rain or snow comes from the east ,right into the opening that these doors will secure. Another plus is that when the doors are closed and all the barnyard gates are closed,we can use the small barnyard as a dry lot.
Plant Leaf People in nature Sunlight Grass
 
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