Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Making Progress

This morning dawned sunny and warm.  My first tulip is blooming -- in the middle of the garlic, which wasn't planned.  I used to use this bed for flowers and a few still remain.

The tulips are bursting into bloom everywhere.

And the birds are busy building nests in the eaves of our front porch -- an area Camille and I refer to as the bird condos. 

You can't see them because it is dark, but this is condo row (shot through the window).
Temperatures at our place got up to around 70F. 

We went down the mountain for a lesson with Gayle.  It was 80F in Riverside.  Thank goodness the arena at Gayle's barn is covered because my lesson was at high noon.

I explained to Gayle the funky hopping rearing thing Winston was doing when I asked him to canter.  She said it is a form of sucking back and he needs to learn to be forward, in front of my leg, at canter just like he's learned at trot.  I told her I understood and agreed but that I was scared to work on it at home without her.   A few years ago,  I wouldn't have admitted to the fear.  I'm brutally honest now and I have no pride. 

We started out working on taking the contact at walk.  Winston was a bit resistant at first but he eventually accepted the contact and worked in a nice frame.  This was a first for him at walk.  We've gotten it at trot, but not walk yet.
Not giving yet.

His trot work came together quickly and nicely.  There were high headed moments, for sure, but he came back to me quickly. 
One of the high headed moments

Then it was time to, gulp, canter.  Sure enough he sucked back and Gayle said "make him go."  We had quite a bit of protesting: bucking and hopping and kicking out -- and then he settled into this huge forward canter.  Around and around we went and it was a blast.  We changed direction and he only protested half-heartedly before settling into a nice canter.  Gayle said he is young and he is going to test me from time to time.  I need to be consistent and patient and he will learn it isn't worth the trouble of protesting.  I praised him with neck rubs (on the inside) and my voice as we flew around. 

Brett was up next.  I was busy with Winston and while I was able to watch some of the lesson, I didn't get any pictures.  Which is a huge shame.  They looked awesome.  The best I've ever seen both of them.  Flash was working through his body, round and strong.  Brett was sitting tall and balanced.  They made a beautiful picture.  ...and they were exhausted when Gayle finished with them.  (she's very nice, and very patient, but she isn't easy).

Here's the two tired ponies afterwards:  Winston had his bath already but poor Flash had just had his tack removed and was sweaty.  He got hosed off and then we headed  home.


  1. winston sure is a handsome fellow! always impressed with his build!

    i heard swallows here yesterday, too, so i know they'll be building nests soon. :)

  2. oh, and you asked about the black-bellied whistling ducks. they've only been seen along the gulf in Tx and Fla for years, but have been steadily working their way inland - one blogger in MD spotted them there last year!

    they are from Mexico and S America regions. :)

  3. I can't imagine having flowers already! Beautiful. Sounds like you both made great progress today at your lessons. Two fabulous horses!

  4. You sure get your money's worth with this trainer don't you? It is good to see flowers.

  5. Flowers! SO jealous!
    Sounds like you and Winston are making great progress.

  6. I love lessons with a good instructor. So you live by Riverside? I went to school one year at Moreno Valley High nearby.

  7. Great work with Winston at the canter! Sounds like a great lesson. I usually prefer to work in a lesson when I'm having trouble with something and not on my own. They do look tired but it was worth it for such a nice day.

  8. I love Winston. He is so gorgeous! Glad you all had a great lesson.


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