Archive for May, 2002

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – First Trail Ride

JR, the Tall is almost three and started by Jenny Vaught He’s been doing great. I got another woman to ride Sage (his step mother) and I rode JR up in the Pine Dell 40 acre hay field. That went so well, we rode farther and went by some potentially scary places. JR showed no sign of fear. Then I started to ride him in the 40 acre hay field by myself, and farther.

Sunday, SKIPPY  and JR went for our first real trail ride. I didn’t realize that neither Skippy’s new owner or Jenny had ever loaded him. So, JR and I played for a bit in the arena while his owner played trailer loading.

I never thought we would go on the trail ride, but after a while Skippy climbed right in and stayed. He will do anything for his owner!

We got to our park and started to play with the horses to get them calmed down and listening to us. SKIPPY wasn’t calming down. We
decided to go for a trail WALK. It wasn’t very far to our first mud puddle, so we practiced going through mud at a walk. Both JR and
Skippy found out that mud wasn’t so bad. Another short distance was another wider mud puddle, so we had a great time in this mud. JR
learned how to stand in the mud and back up through it. He also learned how to paw and sling the mud right on Skippy’s white hair. I
was so proud of him! Skippy learned how to drink the muddy water and not rush too fast through it.

We walked back and played in the first puddle again. Skippy’s owner decided that he was now ridable.

We went to the trailer and mounted. Skippy started moving very fast and his owner had a heck of a time getting him to disengage his hind
quarters. JR and I came over and just stood as close as we could get to him to help him relax. Skippy finally gave his hindquarters
and came to a stop.

Skippy’s owner thought about ending the trail ride right there. But we started up again and headed to the direction of the mud
puddles and away we went.

We successfully walked across the mud and went on down the trail. JR walks across mud puddles much better now than Velvet!
I’m going to get Velvet and take her for a mud puddle walk.

JR likes to start running about every 1 1/2 minutes, so I use the wide variety of methods we have to stop or slow him down. However,
several times during the trail ride, JR told me that I was being too heavy on the reins and he was starting to learn how to brace. He
would take his head and bend it down and shake his head from side to side. I am commiting the worst crime of all…creating brace!

Not too far from the last mud puddle, Skippy took off back towards the trailer. But, the owner was able to get him to run in a circle
and gradually got his hindquarters to disengage. We had another “Should we quit now discussion”, but decided that Skippy
would win big time if we went back to the trailer at this time, so we pressed on.

We progressed down the trail with lots of hindquarters disengaging on Skippy’s part and some on JR’s part.

We saw our first bike from a nice distance. We stared at it.

We crossed a blacktop road and kept on going for a while. Skippy’s owner decided that her emotional and physical self was finished and
needed to return to the trailer.

Well, you know how that went. Skippy went into high gear again several more times. He also started hopping. Skippy’s former owner
told us that he reared straight up 22 times the last time she rode him. Skippy’s new owner is nervous about that. When he started
hopping, she got very nervous.

JR tried to run every half minute. I have a lot more control over JR, so we got this under control in no time at all. Although we did
have another episode of head shaking to tell me I was committing the horrid brace crime again.

We made it past the 2nd puddle with great success. We were walking along with both horses at a calm walk.
We looked at each other and marveled. This was an excellent time to reward the horses, so we dismounted and walked the rest of
the way to the trailer.

Neither horse spooked at anything. Skippy was very emotional. JR just wanted to go fast down the trail. He thinks trail riding is a
lot of fun.

Skippy’s owner is glad to be alive. I am also glad to be alive and glad that I’m not Skippy’s owner!

I went home and went to bed on a late Sunday afternoon! I was too physically and emotionally exhausted for a celebatory wine!

All Monday during the day, I let myself go into extreme guilt for the bracing crime that I had committed. I was ready to hang up my
virtual spurs and give JR back to Jenny. Last Monday group lesson, JR started to canter too fast, my fear came up and I was hanging onto
the reins for (gasp) balance!

Monday nite level 1 lesson came. Before the lesson started, I mounted JR and took him outside. Miracle of Miracles occured. He
just walked!!! I actually got to tell him to speed up. During the lesson, we did great..we trotted and cantered and I didn’t commit one
single bracing crime. I have turned a big corner!


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