Saturday, January 19, 2013

48 Hours with Blessi

Monday morning, I went to see Blessi. I was going to ride him in the arena but I thought I would longe him first since I hadn't ridden him for a few days.  The barn had a jump clinic over the weekend. The jump course was still set up in the big arena (as opposed to the covered arena). A line of trot poles was set up and all the jump poles were in place but the cross poles weren't up. 

This is a jump cup.
I decided to turn Blessi loose in the arena so he could run around . What does he do but he trots right down the center of the arena across the center of the trot poles and then proceeds to trot through about 30% of the course! The cross poles weren't up but he still trotted between the support poles. Blessi must have been watching the clinic all weekend and was just dying to show off what he could do. So I decided to change plans---free style jumping rather than riding.

Since Blessi seemed so interested, I put up some of the cross poles to create low jumps and then asked him to free jump for a piece of carrot. He had a blast taking those jumps from different directions per my ground directions. Some times he did go between the jumps but he did it at a trot. Between treating, I was laughing at all the attitude he was exhibiting--arched neck and fancy steps. 

Then Barb set up some real jumps for Diva, her Dutch warmblood. She set up a cross pole on the ground, a very low jump, followed by three high jumps--all designed to be jumped in sequence in a straight line. As Barb returned to the barn to finish saddling up, I went to the arena gate to collect my stuff. Blessi was still loose in the arena and since I wasn't paying attention, he decided to make a bid for a jackpot of carrots. He voluntarily started to take the run over Barb's set up of jumps. Blessi went over the trot pole, jumped the little jump, and then decided that the first of the large jumps was too high and slid to a stop. He bumped the pole and knocked it off the jump but this was done very slowly. However, he did manage to break the jump cup---yes, I learned a new word and how much it costs to replace them.

The next day, Shannon was cleaning Blessi's stall and let his stall door open a bit. Blessi saw an opportunity and opened the door to take himself off to pasture. They left him graze thinking he would come back out of the rain but, being Icelandic, Blessi was not detered by some rain. So Lea went out had to chase him for a bit to catch him. Blessi was bound and determined that he was on pasture break.

Today, Shannon started teaching Blessi how to piaffe. The beginning steps are easy. You just tickle the horse's back leg until he picks it up and then feed the horse a carrot. However, piaffing with a rider on his back comes at the end of a longer process. Blessi does get the idea though. Since a sugar cube was involved, he picked up the idea really quickly.

And Blessi has taught Zoeey the weanling a new trick. A bunch of tall ornamental grass grows next to their pasture. Blessi demoed to Zooey how to lean over the fence and nibble on the plant. So now they are taking turns "hedge trimming."

And this is what 48 hours with Blessi is like. 

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