Dec 1 2011 Lesson 21 for me on a Lesson Horse

I stopped in to see Cooper first before heading out for my riding lesson. The cross ties were too high and short for him so I ground tied him to groom him a little. He was very good when I was there and as soon as I left the room and left him with my husband he started to walk away. My husband is too soft with Cooper and our dog LOL

The barn manager says that Cooper has such good ground manners, I was happy to hear that. One woman that was there says she thinks she sees Morgan in him. That is the second person who has said that. I will never really know for sure what is in him unless I get one of those dna tests done, if they can be done. I just know that the old owner said he was 1/2 Quarter Horse (which could be wrong). I gave him some beet pulp, carrots and apples and left for the lesson.

I rode one of Five Star's lesson horses tonight, a handsome bay gelding named Porky. That name does not suit him at all, he is a very good boy. When I got in the saddle and started to move it was just like riding Cooper. From his back he even looked like Cooper. I always liked this horse and wanted to try him and now I get to use him for my last few lessons this month. I was thinking about trying a lope but it took me almost the whole lesson to really get comfortable on him. He was testing me and stopping then not wanting to move at the beginning. He was tired, he had just had an hour and half lesson before me.

We were working on the extended posting trot on the short side and slowing down to a jog on the long side. First we were to try slowing with our seat, which I was always forgetting to do. I was having a hard time posting, mostly because of my leg I think, I am not that strong. I was trying to post right away when coming to the corner of the short side and then the coach told me to get in a few fast strides first then start posting and it was a little easier. I will be trying this with Cooper the next few times I see him.

We also had to keep collected and rounded and release the rein when the horse got soft. My coach was always at me to slow my seat, lower my hands, slow my hands, shoulders back, legs down. That's good, I need to hear that as I forget and start doing all that stuff.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on December 14, 2011 at 8:48am

I missed last weeks lesson and will likely lose it because I didn't give 24 hours notice of me being sick. I should have called a day earlier but I was hoping to still be able to go to it.

We went to see Cooper last night. It had been 9 days since I last saw him and was looking very good. Not one bite or mark on him from being in the new herd. I think he has settled in very nicely. I had bought some BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) to give him for his coat but with the new feed he is getting a very nice shiny coat without it. I will keep them as a treat mixed with his beet pulp.

I did about 1/2 hour of ground work while a few others were riding in the arena. It is much smaller than the old place, when you get a few in there it is tight. Cooper was full of spunk, I expected him to be since he hadn't been worked in over a week. He was giving me a bit of a hard time on his right side, he kept stopping and turning his left eye to me. I think maybe that is good but he was trying to do it all the time.

I got on and we walked around the arena few times, letting him see all the corners and check everything out. When he would raise his head I would get him to lower it and walk right on by the scary spot. He must have figured he already had enough work on the ground because he kept trying to stop and head back to the stall. Every time we rode past Al Cooper would try to stop as if to say I am done now!! I made him go, had a few "I don't want to" moments but we got through them. We did a little whoa, back up, turn on the haunches. When he would try the "I'm outta here" thing I would do some counter bend circle, since he was doing it anyway trying to get away, so put it to use. He would act up and try to go sideways and even attempted to back away when I was asking him to go forward. I pulled him around in a circle and made him go forward again.

He was testing me almost all night. My husband was saying, he has had enough, you sure you want to ride before I got on and you should get off now when I was riding.  I told him that is how he starts to think he is the boss. And he is the boss with my husband because he lets him do whatever he wants and go where he wants with him following, instead of him being the leader. He is like that with the dog too, I really wish he would take a beginners course with an instructor because he does not listen to what I tell him! I didn't feel like it was a health issue that Cooper was doing this, we weren't working hard, I hardly every work Cooper hard.

I rode for about half an hour and started to get sore and tired, not used to it after being sick for over a week. I still didn't work on the last lesson, I just did not feel comfortable in that arena yet to do those faster trots. 

It was just so nice to get to the barn in 20 minutes and then 20 minutes for the ride home! I almost don't want to go back to the other barn for the last few lessons I have left because it is so far a drive. 

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on December 9, 2011 at 4:33pm

I've been sick all week, going to miss the Christmas Dinner at my spouses work tonight :( He won't go without me. I think it was the flu, hope it's not my kidneys because my right side is very painful and heat all around the kidney area. I always get kidney problems all of my life, always have to go for an ultrasound of them every year and haven't been for a few years, so guess I should make an appointment. Much better with an ultrasound instead of the old IVP's, they used to make me so sick when they put that awful stuff into my body.

The cold has been bothering me, unusual for me. I even turned the heat on in my apartment and haven't had it on in 2 years. We get enough heat from surrounding apartments. If I still don't feel good by Monday I'm calling the doctor.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on December 4, 2011 at 11:21pm

Went to see Cooper on Saturday and worked him in the indoor arena for the first time at the new barn. I did some ground work, circles, figure 8's, sideways with the rope halter and 12' lead rope. He was pretty good, only spooked a little in the far corners. I then did some giving to the bit and hip, shoulder, shoulder work. I rode him around for about 15 minutes practicing some of the last lesson where I was trying to shorten him up and lighten the front end. I didn't do any fast trot as I was a little frightened that he would spook at the far end if we tried to go faster. 

Lots of time for that. I didn't get out on Sunday as I wasn't feeling the greatest, rain and a headache. I know he is comfortable and dry as he comes in every night now and is surrounded by horses on 3 sides of his stall. He didn't have one bite on him, he is getting along with the new herd. He was very dirty when we got there, looked like he enjoyed a good roll out in the paddock.

I'm going to try and get out to see him Monday night after physiotherapy but if not that night then will go on Tuesday. It was so nice to have that short drive to and from the barn. The traffic was bad though, all the holiday shoppers I guess. Hope it is better in the new year once Christmas is over.

Comment by Jackie Cochran on December 2, 2011 at 12:44pm

Every different horse you ride will extend your education even more.  If the horse is like Cooper you will gain confidence for what you have to do with your horse, if the horse is not like Cooper you will learn new things that will be useful later.

And most lesson horses, even the ones who are not tired, are reluctant to get moving.  It is like you have to pass a test of at least minimal equestrian ability before they will consent to move.  You got him moving, good!

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