January 31, 2012

First Ground Lesson

I really want to type this before my class since the information is fresh.

Today instead of a riding lesson I had a ground training lesson. Where S is teaching me how to do ground work with horses. Mr P was the horse victim for the lesson today.

I got to work (late mind you because I had to stop at the ATM) and fed the starving horses quickly, gave Legend his grain and then got Mr P and put him inside. I tied him in the stall and I groomed him up and picked his feet. S was also running a little bit late, by the time she got there I was all done. I walked Mr P out of the stall and asked if there was anything else I needed to grab. She looked at me like I had two heads.

"It's a ground lesson today" I said, and she laughed "Oh that's right I thought you were riding, and I was thinking, hmm yeah tacking up might be a good thing" Oh Tuesday's I love you, you are almost worse than Monday's. She had me tack Mr P up anyways and said that we would lunge him in a bridle and saddle. S then introduced a new piece of equipment that I have heard about but have never used; side reins. She explained what they do, and how to put them on the saddle, and it seems pretty straight forward, though I am sure there are some tricks too them.

We went into the arena and she had me hold the lunge line while she held the whip so I could start off more organized. I told her that is usually my main problem when lunging, I become disorganized. If the horse is going to the left, I use to hold all of the line in my left hand, and the whip in my right. This was my problem, because when the horse would start to come into the circle, I would scramble to pick up the loose line. S explained how it would be better if I held the line in my right hand, with the whip, and hold the line that goes to the horse in my left hand and hold it as if the line was a rein. This made it much easier for me to stay organized, even though I do have to practice to become more efficient.

S then explained about how you lunge you make the shape of a triangle with your horse, which wasn't a new concept to me but some things she explained made things much more clear. She had me practice walk and trot transitions, having the lunge line hooked to the halter first, in both directions and then we hooked the line to the bit and hooked up the side reins.

During the last half of my lesson S had me get Mr P into a working trot, and then get him to be in an extended/bigger trot, and have him transition between the two. It was difficult at first but it got easier. I also think it will be easier once I don't have to listen to S and just put all my focus on the horse.

It was yet another very informative lesson. I am so glad that I am getting these learning opportunities and S seems more than willing to teach me. She says she really enjoys my positive attitude and enthusiasm, she also thinks I have a lot of talent. No, I promise I won't let it go to my head, I have such a long road ahead, but it is very nice to be appreciated.

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