Saturday, January 9, 2010

Panama gets a taste of jumping

During my lesson yesterday, Panama got his first taste of jumping.

In addition to my lesson, my trainer exercised two horses yesterday, one before my lesson and one after. She had a low cross rail jump set up for the first horse, which she left out for Panama, so when my blood sugar crashed and I was unable to ride, she messed around with Panama a little bit.

Most of it was desensitization work, as Panama is still anxious in the indoor arena. There has been a hula hoop sitting off to the side in there lately, and so sometimes she picks it up and messes with him a little. The first time she ever did that, he was a bit startled when she produced a bright shiny hoop seemingly out of thin air, but she plunked it over his head and around his neck and he just stood there, surprised but in control of himself.

The second time she ever messed with the hula hoop, she hooked it over the back of the saddle and around his rump. He's small enough that it goes right down underneath his butt, and rests against the back of his legs, which scares him. He was a complete wreck at first, but eventually he calmed down.

Yesterday she did the same thing, just a little more persistently, so it took him a little while longer to relax. But he did, and now I am the proud owner of a circus pony prospect! Heh.

My trainer also walked him around the arena in general, including over the jump. As you might expect, he stalled the first time and stared at it hard, like he was trying to figure out what it was. But very quickly he followed her over, first at a walk, and then at a trot. My blood sugar still wouldn't come up, so eventually she got up on him and rode him over the jump a few times — again, first walking, and then trotting.

She wasn't pushing him or anything, because obviously he hasn't jumped before, and the jump was low enough that he could step over it if he was careful about it. He especially liked trotting up to it and jumping, though, and you could see him going through the process of learning how to pick up his feet.

Once I started feeling better, I mounted and rode for a bit. She told me just to walk him around for a while, because we're still working on him relaxing at the walk in the indoor. Technically our lesson was over, so she went and got the other horse she was riding — Voodoo, Panama's playmate — and we rode the two of them together in the arena for a little while.

My trainer had me ride Panama over the jump a few times at the walk, and I quickly found that he really liked it and wanted to continue doing it. In fact, he wanted to trot, and probably would have quite happily jumped it for me too had I known what I was doing.

I've always suspected that Panama would be good at jumping — a couple of years ago he actually jumped the 4-foot fence around his run virtually from a standstill — and since he prefers a challenge, I've often thought he'd like it, too. When I've asked my trainer about it, she has indicated that we'll probably be able to start teaching him to jump in the spring. (Whether or not I'll be ready by then I don't know, but I'll still be quite happy to watch her jump him.) Yesterday was just a taste of what's to come, since as my trainer said, he was jumping with absolutely no skill. But the fact that he was so interested indicates that I may have been right that he would like it!



At January 9, 2010 at 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fun that he enjoyed the jumping - what's up with you and the low blood sugar - hypoglycemia?

At January 9, 2010 at 10:06 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Oh, Kate, sorry -- I probably haven't mentioned it in a while, but I'm a type 1 diabetic. The last couple of days, though my insulin doses have stayed the same, my blood sugar has been running low. Sometimes that happens for apparently no reason, probably due to imperceptible changes in my metabolism. Tonight I reduced my evening/24-hour dose, so we'll see how I do tomorrow.

At January 10, 2010 at 10:30 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Sorry about not feeling well. I'm sure Panama benefited from having the trainer desensitize and ride him too. Now I'm inspired. I grabbed my daughter's hula hoop. If it ever stops raining today, I'll go out for a little bit and ease them into it. Bombay loves new toys. The hula hoop is hot pink, so it should make for some good pictures.

At January 11, 2010 at 4:53 PM, Anonymous Horse Riding Equipment said...

best wishes for 2010! for all horse lovers


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