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Lucky’s Progress, Updated 03/08/2012

December 22, 2009

2009 Winter is in full regalia.  Today is the Winter Solstice and I’m looking forward to the days getting longer although this winter has been pretty mild until now.  With a blanket of snow and mild temps Lucky continues his training.

Down The Road

Before the snow fell to stay, Lucky had a third solo line driving experience.  It was a cool, 30 something cloudy evening with a breeze.  We went 4 miles and had a few audiences along the way.

Lucky's First Audience

I find line driving with the harness helps to desensitize the equine.  As with the change in seasons, every day is different and Lucky gets exposed to something new nearly every time.

More Admirers

After driving, I sat on him bareback for a bit to begin the riding part of his training.  He was fine with this, so we ended on a good note.

A few days later, we went out for a 2 mile line driving lesson, but this time with the english saddle on.  Several weeks earlier, Lucky had been longed with this saddle on, but this time, I intended to sit in it after driving.  Because the evening was upon us, I cut the driving lesson short and started the riding lesson.

Lucky was curious about the pressure in each stirrup, as I pushed down on each one with my hands prior to mounting.  This gave me an indication as to weather or not he would be receptive of my weight.  He was okay with this, so I proceeded to get on.  Lucky stood there as if wondering what to do next.

I asked Lucky to move in a forward direction, and he preferred to try to buck me off.  He tried this three times and then stood quietly, as if realizing that I was planted securely on his back.

Yesterday, December 20th, Barry line drove Lucky 5 miles while I line drove Zack.  The afternoon was in the 20’s with a northwest wind and cloudy.

Lucky and Zack

When Lucky spooks, he plants his hind feet and jumps forward.  It is rather interesting, because he waits to spook until he is past the object in question, and then reacts as if it is going to get his rump.  His spooks aren’t severe, but I imagine if one was riding him and not ready for the forward jump, they’d be on the ground pretty quickly.

After line driving, it was time for another riding lesson.  This time, Lucky was not concerned with weight in the stirrups or me in the saddle.  He had peaceful eyes and was curious about me and sniffed my legs.  I rewarded his confidence by rubbing his neck and started to desensitize his hind quarters and sides.

Without any hesitation, Lucky moved forward with my verbal cue and a little leg pressure and Barry in the lead.  I rode both directions in the round pen several times, turning and stopping and standing nicely.  With roughly a foot of snow in half of the round pen, I was really pleased with Lucky’s balance.  He carried me very nicely and with certitude.  Yea, another great day!

Christmas Eve brought bountiful snow!

Christmas Day

Monday, December 28th.

Nearly 20″ of snow from this storm meant days of snow removal beginning on Christmas Day.  While the men worked on clearing the snow, the girls played with the horses.

Carpe Diem was in the air on the 28th and I took this opportunity to let Lucky give his owner her first ride.The joy in both their eyes was the best gift I could have received for Christmas.  It was perfect!  Certainly a match made in heaven.

September 14, 2010:

Lucky and Anna have had a pretty full year.  Anna is 4″ taller and Lucky shot up a bit and started filling out.

Anna has been working with Lucky in hand and riding him some all summer.  She brought him to the Rodeo Bible Camp in June which was his first experience to a situation where there were strange horses and horse activity all around.  Lucky also experienced his first arena environment at this event.  Anna was responsible for his care.  It was a good week for both.

During the summer, she rode Lucky on his first ridden trail ride which was at Newton Hills State Park.  It was uneventful until Lucky spooked and Anna slid off his rump to the ground.  That taught Anna how quickly something can happen and that the rider needs to be aware of situations that can arise.  They both handled the spook very well and no injuries, so back on Lucky and we finished the ride.

In August, Anna showed Lucky in hand at the Sioux Empire Fair Open Show.  Lucky was bathed, clipped and groomed and Anna was polished and they had a fun time.

Being Judged At The Sioux Empire Fair

They really make a great pair.

Now that school is in session, there is less time for Anna and her equine activities.  For an hour on Sunday, September 12th, Anna started learning how to line drive Lucky.

Anna Line Driving Lucky 1st Time

This is a great confidence building tool for both of them as well as another way for Anna to learn how Lucky thinks in a safer environment.  Better her feet planted on the ground, rather than her rump.   Lucky and Anna will continue their education.

Tuesday, October 5th it was near 80 degrees and I had to take advantage of the weather. I line drove Lucky 5 miles.  We walked and trotted in our new neighborhood, with 30 mph constant winds, dogs running at us and barking at us, pheasants flushing out of the ditches, corn rustling loudly from the wind.  It’s October and the day was full of spooks.

Lucky handled most of the spooks pretty good.  One made me laugh and I had wished that I could have recorded it.  He sniffed a piece of mangled white sheet metal about the size of a 5 gallon pail, that was along the side of the road.  When he touched the edge of the metal with his nose, he spooked and jumped straight up with all fours like a deer would do.  It was an interesting sight and the thought of it still makes me chuckle.

Sunday October 10th and Tuesday October 11th, Anna started riding Lucky on her own in the round pen.  She is riding him at a walk and trot for an hour at a time.  He still has his moment of defiance during lunging prior to riding, but he has really taken to Anna and she is learning to trust in herself and him.  Today, Tuesday, was a great confidence building day for both of them as they trotted half an hour on uneven terrain and the wind was blowing.  It was a great evening for them.  They ended with a perfect transition from trot to walk and then whoa.  They are a good match!

3 Year Old Lucky With 10 Year Old Anna

November 2010, Lucky and I took to the trails and I started him on his gaits.  As anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t care for ponies, Lucky is an exception for the most part.  He is a gentleman, stands for mounting, grooming, bug spray, baths, clipping, shots, worming and the farrier.  He has endurance and will go for miles without breaking a sweat and can keep up with the horses without pause.

After a long, tough winter, the spring of 2011 has given us a few good days to get some more training done.  Anna rode Lucky around the farm and down the road for 4 miles on Tuesday, May 24th.  It was their first solo ride out in the open without me near her side.

They did really well, walking, trotting and wading through a 20’x10″deep flowing water crossing.  What a team!  With only a 5th of a mile to go, Lucky reminded her of his agility and spooked sideways and she ended up on the ground.  No injuries, but a reminder that Lucky can put the moves on and that she needs to think ahead, remain calm and be one with him.  Tuesday was a confidence building and bonding day for Anna and Lucky.

The next step in training is the canter.

Thursday, May 26, 2011,  Lucky and his owner are well on their way.  Anna has yet to ride him at a canter but her confidence is growing and Lucky is proving to be a loyal and fun pony.

Saturday, June 4, 2011, is graduation day for Anna and Lucky.  Today we trail rode 6 miles at Newton Hills and Anna and Lucky had a blast.  They traveled at walk, trot, canter and full gallop with Anna giggling the entire time.  It was truly an amazing day for this team.

Graduation Ride

Sunday, October 9, 2011, Lucky continues his training with trainer Jean Kirschman and myself.  Lucky is learning how to extend, soften, collect and bend on the lunge line before a riding lesson.

Lunging Before a Riding Lesson

December, 2011,  Lucky and I continue riding down the road solo, with a new companion and on the trails as the weather allows.  It has been an amazing Fall and I’m greatful for these peaceful rides.  For someone that doesn’t really care for ponies, I am starting to get attached to this one.  He is easy to ride and wants to go.  His gaits are smooth, he’s never obstinate and always sound.  No need for a mounting block and he’s an easy keeper.  The next part of his training will be trail patterns and jumping.

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