Saturday, May 7, 2011

Small Success with Two Greenies. And GRASS!

Yesterday afternoon, I put on my extra protective equipment and got ready to ride.  OK, I might as well declare it early, before you see the pictures.  When I ride my greenies, I wear, in addition to my helmet and vest, hard knee pads and elbow pads that were made for playing hockey.  This may be a first in the world of horse training, but I doubt it will be trend setting.

Starlight tentatively takes me over a wet spot.
I ground drove Starlight, then climbed on her for the first time since last December, when I was getting in her first rides before the ice covered everything.   Poor baby!  Instead of a cushy, level arena, this time she had to carry me around a big, hilly circle that included a few wet spots.  It was easy to feel her anxiety about walking through those wet areas with a rider, but she was super-good and didn't pull anything on me.  We rode two large circles each way, around the lawn and field (I say "lawn and field" because, at this time, I can't really tell which is which.  We need to get a mower up here).

After I untacked her, I let her munch the long grass as a "thank you," for taking such good care of me on the ride.
Starlight coming up a hill with a rider -- a first for her!

Then I went for that brown and white one, Dee.  She ground drove very well, with a few stops for grass and one unexpected detour up a short, rocky hill that took a minute or so to sort out.

Then, I parked her by the mounting block and prepared her for my getting on.

Let me detour to say that the one time I got on her in the past, she dumped me within seconds.  It was a weird situation and experience and it made me certain that I needed to add something to my groundwork training for greenies.  I have been saving her for after I started riding DeCato and Starlight, to have that much more experience under my belt.  And added ground driving.
Going like she's done it all her life.
Ground control to Dee: NOT THAT WAY!

So, at the mounting block, with stirrups down and girth tight, I slapped the saddle and pushed down on it.  She didn't seem to care.  I wiggled it back and forth, then lay across it, full weight.  No problem.  I lay across it, full weight, and squirmed and squeezed and waved my feet and arms.  Nada.  I whacked her butt with my hands on both sides, mimicking the way you might accidentally hit the rump with your foot when mounting. Yeah, no problem.  Then, full weight in the stirrup and wiggled up and down.

She was giving me the all-clear, actually still just wanting to graze, so I finally got on properly.  She was still OK with that, so I wiggled around, thumped her butt, squeezed with my legs.

Dee was a sport, standing still and not minding any of this.  I mounted and dismounted a few more times, then, with the good ground driving and the excellent mounting training, I pulled off the tack and finally let her graze.

Squirming around in the saddle on a calm Dee.
Starlight leads Dee and Stormkite on a wild run.

As excited as I was about the good training with the greenies, THEY were excited with what happened next.  I let them out in the grass of the pasture, out of their pock-marked and muddy winter sacrifice area, for the first time.  It has just been too wet until now, but this upper piece of pasture seemed firm enough to support them.   You'll see from the picture they had a great time, and they got some serious grazing in, as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment