Saturday, March 16, 2013

More of riding two horses at once

V. and I have ridden together a couple more times since last weekend.  On Thursday she had a lesson on Panama, but my trainer had ridden Rondo that morning so I decided not to ride him again -- besides, A. (who is five and a half) was with us, so I wanted to hang out with him while his sister rode.  (As an aside, now that he is getting into riding too, he has suddenly stopped asking to play on my phone during his sister's lessons -- instead he watches and helps me and the instructor set up jumps.  Big progress for him!)  After she finishes riding, A. always gets a turn to walk Panama around and work on his steering.  Holding his hands in the right position (i.e., nowhere near his armpits) and only using one rein to turn have been challenging things for him to remember!

 On Friday morning I took the kids out to the barn with me again -- they didn't have school, and we had gorgeous 70-degree weather both Thursday and Friday.  We had to start out riding inside because the outdoor arena was being groomed, which the kids were disappointed about.  Once we got outside, I told A. I was going to ride for 20 more minutes, and when I got back from putting Rondo away his sister's turn on Panama would be over.  Talk about a clock watcher -- he kept telling me how long I had left, and made sure I finished when I said I would!  After putting Rondo away, I made sure V. gave her brother a turn on Panama, and he actually rode for a good 25 minutes or so, practicing his steering.

This morning V. had another lesson to make up for when she'll be out of town for spring break.  It was a pretty good lesson until toward the end, when both she and Panama were getting tired and sloppy and frustrated.  I think the extra practice ride each week is helping her quite a bit though, because it allows her to practice the things she worked on during the previous lesson, but without the pressure (for both her and Panama).

During her lesson, I rode Rondo.  I didn't have time to turn him out first today, which I usually do because if I don't he tosses his head and plays with the bit a lot -- he's just a very playful boy.  But today there wasn't any of that, probably because this was the third day in a row that he'd been ridden -- a new thing for him.  We had one spook when he dropped his butt and launched himself forward just after V. and Panama passed us at the canter -- I'm not sure who startled whom, but V. said later that Panama spooked too.  Our trainer just said they "had a moment together" as they passed.  We both got back to work and there were no more incidents.

I didn't ride Rondo for the whole lesson, mostly just trotting him while V. worked on her flat work.  I kept working during V.'s first few jumps, but once she started jumping more I decided to call it quits, and hung out in the middle with Rondo during the latter part of the lesson.  The funny thing was the first time Rondo saw Panama jump -- I had stopped him so he could watch, and initially his head was low, just relaxing and enjoying the break -- but as soon as Panama jumped, his head shot up about a foot, and his ears shot forward!  It definitely woke him up, though he seemed interested more than startled -- he just hadn't expected to see that, I think.

The funniest thing was how Rondo amused himself while we were standing around -- this picture was taken before I rode, but he did more of the same while I watched the rest of V.'s lesson.  He commandeered the tall traffic cone that sits next to the cement mounting block in the center of the arena, had a good time picking it up, swinging it around, and relocating it.  Later he discovered the crop and made a good show of swinging that around too!

Soon I plan on starting to canter Rondo myself (my trainer has been cantering him for a little while, but only maybe half a dozen times or a little more), and she said that soon we might put him over a low cross rail and just see what he thinks.  I really hope he likes jumping as much as Panama does, because I like it and because I think he'll make a really flashy hunter, but as a fellow boarder pointed out, he'd be stunning as a dressage horse too!



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