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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2003
    Location
    St Aug, Fla
    Posts
    3,812

    Talking Second Lesson w/Dean Graham (pics)

    Today I was able to trailer over to a farm about 15 mins from me and take a lesson with Dean Graham. I went to his "Starting the Young Sporthorse" clinic in Live Oak, FL on Nov 13th where Rex had his 5th ride and first canters under saddle. With work, the USDF convention, Tday, and my winter vacation around the corner, I havent had time for riding. So Rex hasnt been touched since that clinic.

    We had a really strong cold front move through yesterday. It went from 84 degrees to 54 degrees without the wind chill in 24 hours. Everyone was feeling a little frisky. Wasnt sure how Rex would be with not only 2 weeks off (which I really wasnt concerned about) but coupled with the weather? Hmmmmm.

    Well - he was perfect, as always. No silliness AT ALL. Not even one hoof out of place. Such an amazing horse!

    The facility, Two Son Farm, was really nice and had lots of arenas (covered, outdoor, big, small, big round pen, etc) and everyone was great. We tacked up for the first time tied to the trailer. Rex entertained himself by grabbing the plastic bag of apple slices (the kind you buy presliced at the store) and was shaking it and slapping himself in the face with it. I think some horses may have scared themselves doing that - but not this silly horse. Anyways, we walked around, looking at all the new sights (big blue barrels, trash cans, jumps, poles, wagons, big potted plants, etc) and had a few arched necks and snorts but he was brave and aproached them all to find out they werent a big deal.

    We started in the round pen. I like to "lunge" to see where Rex is mentally and also get him focused on me and work. Sometimes he feels a little "naughty" and likes to bolt to the right in the canter or kick out and play. That lets me know that we are going to spend a little more time doing transitions and other work to get him listening to me and being respectful. Dean put the driving reins on and off they went. The time off, the weather, him not being downhill at the moment (btw he measures a solid 16.2 now) or some combination of any of those provided a lovely, springy trot and rolling canter. Did some figure 8s and transitions - less than 10 mins and it was clear he was being submissive and was listening so Dean got on. Started trotting in there but forward is the main focus and that isnt Rex's forte.

    We headed to the arena to have more room to work. Soon, Dean was w/t/c both ways with even some hand gallop thrown in. Again, no silliness at all. By the time we were in the arena, some of the other people were on the "observation deck" and that was "scary". Dean worked on getting him to keep moving forward and eventually not wanting to duck away from the corner where they were. After 3 passes, he was fine.

    Then I got on and did a good amount of w/t/c both ways. I am having to learn how to turn off my brain and not try to do so many things at once. I cant cue forward while pushing him off my leg and using the reins all at once at this stage with him. And boy! I need to get more balanced on him. I feel like I have no seat. He is just so much rounder and freer moving than Layla that I feel like a wet noodle up there trying to ride. It really isnt THAT bad but I def have my moments. Really have to fight the urge to grab the reins in one of those moments. I am going to put a stirrup leather around his neck for a grab strap. Oh - and at one point we were just walking around the arena, and along the far wall towards the end, there were some jump standards and then an Xrail. We walked up and right over it without any hesitation twice! Another first! Funny how the simplest things can seem like such a big deal!

    At one point, we were cantering left, I lost my balance a little, and tada, perfect flying change. Dean starts yelling "Canter right! Canter right!" So a slight turn to the right across the arena and tada, we were cantering the other way. His canter transitions are SO smooth and clean and goodness, I could ride his canter all day it is so nice!

    Towards the end, I was not being as effective keeping him forward in the canter (sinus infection plus cold air makes it hard on the lungs!) but that was a me problem. He was a total rockstar and all this with his 6th ride. Dean has just a great way with the young horses and really enjoys them and gets them. I love his way of explaining, riding, just everything. Highly recommend him for not just young horses, but any level of riding (hes an eventer/show jumper and wife is a dressage rider).

    He just turned 3.5 and I am totally content riding him 2 MAYBE 3 times a month for maybe 20-30 mins (mostly walk). Its really just introducing the whole riding thing to him, taking him different places, and just making it all a non-event.

    Unfortunately, no pics of me riding as I went to the lesson alone (wasnt going to go at all b/c I had to work but last Monday at the end of our mornig huddle, boss tells us hes going to be out of town 12/2 so we will be closed - it was a sign I was meant to ride in this lesson!). I have some stills from the video I took of him in the round pen - then the batteries died. But alas, we all know that I will have plunty more pics soon! (well at least 2 weeks as Sunday I leave for NC for my ski trip for a week!)

    So anyways - pics! They are uploaded to FB (sorry for nonFB people but photobucket has been a PITA lately) - going to post individual links as thats how I had it on TOB.

    Walking around and waiting for our lesson time - thats my truck/trailer next to Rexs nose.
    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-...6_237100_n.jpg

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    obviously no critiques on Dean plz
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    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._5242987_n.jpg

    Just happily trotting around
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    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._7307547_n.jpg

    big goober head! love his roman nose - he is just so happy looking esp when hes being ridden
    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._5405676_n.jpg

    "Hey Mom! Looky this!"
    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._3028556_n.jpg
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    472

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    Very Nice! Your boy looks fantastic!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2007
    Posts
    2,169

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    What a sweetheart! Very cute nose.

    And glad you are making sure not to contradict your forward leg with rein.

    I love the way Dean is riding him.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    5,490

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    How exciting! Doesn't it feel fabulous to experience his progress?

    I really like Rex - and that roman nose, you are right. Its darling.

    Good luck with your trainer - isn't that great that you can follow up with him nearby.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2010
    Location
    spring hill, florida
    Posts
    620

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    Beautiful horse! And he looks like he's coming along just fine. Good luck with him , he's a very nice horse.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2002
    Posts
    1,383

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    I LOVE your horse and he's going to be fabulous! WOW what big gaits, it's no wonder you've got some seat challenges, anybody would.

    And even though you said not to critique Dean, there would be absolutely nothing negative to say about him anyways. He looks like a very soft, kind rider and someone I'd love to have aboard my horse!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2003
    Location
    St Aug, Fla
    Posts
    3,812

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    Thanks everyone!

    Dean IS amazing and he is such a soft, kind rider. I am just thrilled that we are able to get him over here for lessons (and so close to my place too!)

    Ok - so I dont feel AS bad about my seat if yall can see the big gaits. Oy. Im thinking maybe put my stirrups up another hole. I went up one yesterday but I almost feel like if I had "jumping" stirrups I could get a better base of support. Thoughts?
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    Albany NY
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    I am loathe to put my stirrups up one hole, but I did and it made a world of difference. Hey, they stretch out right? Maybe they really are too long.

    Seriously, if they are a tad too long, you won't be able to distribute your weight well and have as much control, even though you might not think so. My seat has gotten stronger and steadier in just the two weeks, and the horse moves better.

    Just a suggestion.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2003
    Location
    St Aug, Fla
    Posts
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    Thats what I am thinking. They are right now 1 hole shorter than where I ride my mare but she is also slab sided and very easy gaits, esp compared to him.

    When looking at Deans leg and the angles, I think my angles are too open and his are more closed so giving a better base at the moment. Ill put them up again and see what happens. I used to jump so Ive been there before.. lol
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2002
    Posts
    1,383

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    I did the same thing, just brought mine up one hole and it made all the difference. At first it felt like my knees were in my chest, but I made myself keep riding in them like that, and now I feel much better. And you will be glad you did it when you really start cantering!! I lost my stirrup once because mine were too long, and on a young horse with a big, unbalanced canter that's kinda scary!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2003
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    St Aug, Fla
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    Hahaha I laugh b/c that is what happened during the lesson. Actually I think that is why my left lower quad is KILLING me but not my right. I lost my right stirrup and I guess my left leg took the burden - that is when he did the flying change - lol.

    I will def shorten them and see what happens. It will be probably 2 weeks though as I leave tomm for a week. I will keep everyone updated of course
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 20, 2006
    Location
    Between a rock and a hard place, WA
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    1,331

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    I think Rex is a doll and I think "roman nose" is a bit of an overstatement! (But seriously, he looks quite athletic to me and naturally steps way under himself at the canter - yup, takes a while to adjust to that!)
    www.moranequinephoto.com
    "If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom."
    Byron



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2003
    Location
    St Aug, Fla
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    Well good, at least I dont totally suck! Actually in the round pen the canter was super easy for me to sit but ya know introduce that whole steering thing and out the window it goes lol.
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!



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