January 25, 2010

Progression with Ranger

Today it is cloudy, rainy, and kinda cold outside. BUT that cannot dampen my spirits because today I get to go see Ranger. A 30 year old Morgan that boarders at the barn that I work at. Ranger is truly a magnificent horse and I absolutely adores him. Before Ranger came along I was riding a Belgian named Strawberry for lessons. I admit she was an amazing horse to learn on, but I got to the point where I felt like I was being used as an exerciser for Strawberry and I was not moving very fast in my riding. Then came Ranger...

When I first met Ranger at work I was excited, as always, to meet some new boarders and went directly outside to see what kind of horses we had. I saw him waiting at the fence like the other horses, waiting for lunch hay. I walked up to him and he sniffed my hands, ears perked right up and sniffed my hand. No, it wasn't love at first site, and I wasn't able to fully appreciate him until I got the chance to ride the "super senior" as we say at the barn.

One Sunday, about a month ago, Michelle, my riding instructor, came up to me before my lesson and asked me if I wanted to ride Ranger instead of Strawberry. At the chance or a ridding a new horse I was ecstatic. Michelle told me that I had to put my muck boots on because Ranger was out in the paddock and was not easily coaxed up to the gate
. I walked outside and down the rocky hill where Ranger was ever-so-much enjoying his lunch hay. I walked slowly and said "Hey Ranger, wanna go for a quick ride today?" I believe it was the word 'ride' that told him he had better stop eating and let the round up begin. He slowly walked away and looked back at me as if saying "Try and come get me, I dare you". After a good 10 minutes I finally got him up at the gate.

After a great grooming session and tack up, I got to ride him. Now, I was told that Ranger had many more buttons than the over weight Belgian that I was use to, but I didn't realize how many until I hoped into that saddle. First off, I realized that Ranger, being an old western pleasure horse now riding in English, does NOT like contact at all. Then I realized that he has about five different trot speeds, while Strawberry had about one, two depending on how much I pushed her. The lesson finally ended and I felt like it was my first time ever on a horse, I felt like it had gone awful, but Michelle insisted that it went great for a first time. I was not looking forward to riding him again, but it happened.

From the second time on, I realized how much I love riding Ranger and being around him. Now when I need to go get him from the pasture he quietly stands there, or sometimes even walks to me. When I go to work he is the first horse I go to see and greet him with a good run down. Then it is off to do the chorse and then I get to work with him.

There is one problem with Ranger, he is very whip shy. Today I am going to work with him trying to desensitize him and also I want to teach him how to turn on the forehand and haunches, I believe since he has not been ridden much he needs a refresher.

I apologize for the long first post, once I get up to speed they will be shorter. I hope to get some pictures of this amazing horse and the rest at the barn.

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