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September 16, 2014

Jitterbug's Guide To Dressage Tests

This week, the time finally came for my Human to step out of the bathtub and into the kiddie pool with a move from USDF Intro Test B to USEA Beginner Novice Test A.

I wish I could say it was because her lower leg has really (finally) improved, but in reality I got so weary of the 2” (yes, that’s inches, not feet) fences that usually accompany Intro Test B that I practically began falling asleep on course. I alleviated my boredom by inventing creative new ways to pull rails (more on that in a future column), and eventually she got the message.

August 1, 2014

How To Help Your Human Pack For A Show

My Human and I enjoyed a successful, if somewhat surprising start to our show season this year. I think she may finally be learning how to stay out of my way during the dressage portion—now we need to teach her to stay in the saddle for the rest of it.

I was horrified to realize how ill-prepared my Human was for our show. Every time I looked up from my hay, she was hunting for a hairpin, digging through her grooming box, or frantically trying to scrub a grass stain out of her breeches.

July 4, 2014

Jitterbug’s Guide To Bucking

As we all know, being a biped trainer requires a lot of sacrifice. My Human doesn’t appreciate it, but I spend an inordinate amount of time exercising my core muscles so that I can cultivate hers. (Though personally, I’m beginning to think her core muscles weren’t installed under that doughy midsection. )

My favorite method for doing this is well-timed bucking. Bucking is a controversial treatment, but I believe that some situations call for extreme measures, such as arrogant or impertinent behavior from the Human.

Or anticipated arrogant or impertinent behavior.

May 14, 2014

Hand-Grazing Your Human

Now that the grass has finally popped back up again, I like to let my Human stretch her legs (and arms) with a good hand grazing session. It’s a good way to limber her up before, (and after; and sometimes in the middle of) an under-saddle session, and I like to think that she’ll one day follow my example and go vegan.

Jitter’s hand-grazing tips: 

February 28, 2014

Emotional Care And Keeping Of Your Human

I have often been accused on social media (and frequently in real life) of being too harsh with my Human. It’s true that I run a tight ship and throw an impressive buck, but I am anxious to correct any false impressions that I do not care about the way my Human feels.

I admit that when I was younger I did not particularly see how my Human’s mood affected mine—if she took a few more yanks on the reins than usual, I sure couldn’t tell. It’s hard to separate grouchiness from upper body weakness from general incompetence, after all.

January 10, 2014

Trailering With Your Human, Part 2

After a somewhat exhausting show season (one combined test and one horse trial, during which I did 100 percent of the work), I have finally had an opportunity to collect a few additional notes on trailering.

I collected my notes while stalling the ride home from our first show this summer. I collected my notes during a particularly uncomfortable session with a strange Human who thought he was a trainer. Last but not least, I collected my last few notes while standing halfway up the ramp ahead of an impending rainstorm at a local park.

December 21, 2013

Jitterbug’s 2013 Letter To Santa

Dear Santa Hoss,

It’s that time of year again, when my lawyers advise me I should write a rebuttal to all the lies my Human claims she reports to you every year. Really, by now Santa, I don’t know why you even take her calls.

Here’s the real story of this year, for your consideration.

November 15, 2013

Showing Your Human, Part 2

I am pleased to announce, my diligent Chronicle readers, that my Human and I completed our first horse trial this fall. As I detailed on my Facebook page, I finished third (I had no help from the Human, after all—it’s her fault I didn’t get to do my courbette down the center line. The incompetent coward.) and I was dismayed to discover that she received a completion ribbon.

October 8, 2013

Showing Your Human, Part 1

One unseasonably cool weekend this summer, I reached a long-awaited milestone in my Human training: we finally went to our first show.

To say that things could have gone better is of course, a complete understatement.

I console myself with the knowledge that all first (and possibly second) horse shows are supposed to be terrible and that exhibiting a green rider will not dent my reputation among my colleagues. Still, we finished an abominable umpteenth out of umpteen, and I hope that in itself is a lesson to her.

September 10, 2013

Birthdays And Your Human

Recently, my Human marked her 20,000 birthday, or something like that, which really got me thinking. For some reason, she celebrated by visiting the barn and ended up feeding me a cookie. On her birthday.

Sometimes, I’m sure she’s anything but the brightest crayon in the box, but every now and again she surprises me.

But that’s how training goes: We have to constantly give our Humans behavior guidance and examples they can learn from, and hope that one day they will surprise us with a moment of clarity.

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