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Day 4 on the LS Ranch

February 18, 2014

I’m happy to say today was a short day.  I’ve been running pretty hard and it was really nice to be done around 1:30 today.  Still, it was about 5 hours of horse time with Dave, the ranch manager and another apprentice.  I have been assigned my own “string” of horses for the week.  Each one has an area that Dave would like developed, except for one named Keeper.  I will be getting to know my “string”, figuring out how to talk to each horse and trying to set them up to be better in some way.  I love this sort of challenge!

Ricky and I.  We partnered well for the Ranch Versatility clinic.

Ricky and I. We partnered well for the Ranch Versatility clinic.

Dave had things to do in the afternoon, so he made sure I was good to go with the 2 horses I’d been assigned for the day before he left me to my projects.  I was trying to figure out exactly how to function as an apprentice so I was slowly getting going with my first mare, Keeper.  Keeper is a super cute Morgan who is very RBE under saddle.  Dave gave me a little history and explained that he’d never seen anyone get her to settle and be calm under saddle.  Dave thought it would be good practice for me to ride a hotter, more anxious horse as a way to help me manage my own energy.  My endurance mare Zarah was quite similar to Keeper, so I have years of experience getting a horse like this to settle.  I’m excited to see if I can help her find some relaxation under saddle this week.  She’s a nice mare who really aims to please.  Dave was clear that he doesn’t expect the horse to change, but that I could benefit from riding such an anxious girl.  I hope I can help her, but I’ll focus on regulating my energy and staying calm and free myself.

Keeper on the left, Cuda on the right

Keeper on the left, Cuda on the right

I started her off in the 75′ round pen and then took her out on the obstacle course.  She’s such a nice little mare, just so anxious about being ridden.  I tried to stay light in my hands, but connected.  She has very little flexion in her neck, so I tried to set her up to bend an awful lot and find softness there.  She was getting better and better!  I’ve got a week to play with her and see how we can get going together.

Next, I played with Cuda, a chestnut Qtr Horse mare.  She was Jody’s first Parelli levels horse.  She’d been someone else’s rejected horse before Jody.  She has some challenges staying connected with her rider and Dave helped me to help her stay with me.  She needs to know her rider is there and if she starts feeling disconnected, she will raise her head and take it side to side.  She helped me practice feeling back to the horse through the bit and asking her to stay with me stride after stride.  I don’t know if she can be ridden freestyle, but I might try a little.  When I first started riding her, she gave me the feeling that she might run away with me.  I’ll be playing with her connection through a lighter rein as I get to know her this week.  She’s an amazing mover and she trots sideways lighter than any horse I can remember feeling.

I gathered my stuff and decided to call it a day.  An afternoon off will help me be fresh for the rest of my stay.  I’ve been going non-stop and a little time off made sense.

More tomorrow!

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One Comment
  1. adriana oliveira permalink

    so overwhelming all these information, how partnership does not come easy and it takes a lot of listening from the human to help the horse. So many skills to understand, learn and be able to apply them in the right time. Im tired just reading your blog lol. hope you are having fun today.

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