Gem and I stood in the middle of the arena and watched Jean get ready. She put on my Confidence Vest ,(I am lending it to her for now) took lots of deep breaths and led Stu over to the mounting block. He stood quietly while she fiddled and fussed with the position of the mounting block. I knew she was stalling. She stood on the mounting block for a bit, finally put her leg in the stirrup and swung her leg over. Stu just stood there. Yay!
|Up and over!|
Jean took a moment to breathe and then asked him to walk on. Stu flinched just a smidge when she squeezed her legs, but he walked off nicely. The anxiety that Jean was feeling was obvious, but I give Stu credit for not freaking out because of it. They walked for about 10 minutes and then called it a day. Not bad for the first time going solo!
Jean won't ride alone (that's a good thing!), so she has been coordinating with other boarders or her husband comes with her to watch. Her and I have coordinated to meet a couple of times. Her usual routine is to lunge Stu at a walk, moving up to fast trot and canter until she feels he's tired.
Now, I can understand the philosophy of using lunging as a training aid or to get out some of the P & V in some horses. :-) I don't know much about lunging, but I wonder if Stu needs much lunging. He doesn't not have P & V and he understands his verbal commands beautifully. He's pretty docile, really. Yes he is spooky under saddle, but he's new at it. I suspect that because lunging is an area where Jean is in control, it gives her confidence, so she does it for as long as she can. The Trainer believes in lunging before every single ride to set the tone. LA thinks that lunging should only be used as a training aid for green horses learning ground manners. Lunging seems to be a very personal thing.
Jean has been on Stu a number of times now and each time I see her, she's a little more confident. When she was on him last Sunday, she asked for a trot. Stu did a little bolt and scurry, but eventually got into a funky trot. Jean didn't keep it up for long. Frankly, I think she sort of scared herself when she realized how BIG the trot was. :-)
Jean is obviously exhilarated and happy about riding her boy. The comments from others at the barn have been positive and she is definitely on a high. It is so exciting seeing someone recognize their dream and I am pleased for her. I have broached the topic of getting back into lessons. She does not see lessons in her future any time soon. She believes that now that Stu has completed 60 days and she can sit on him, lessons are not a requirement because it's just a matter of her working him. I do disagree with her on this, but she has to figure this out for herself; no one will be able to tell her otherwise at this point. Jean hopes to ride Stu four times a week; three evenings and Sunday afternoons. I admire her commitment and watching her relationship grow with Stu will be fun and educational. Maybe next summer we will be hitting the trails together!!