Bootcamp for Z

I’m preparing to send Z off to a trainer in about 60 days. Once at the trainer she will be staying for 3 weeks, come home a week, and then go back for 30 days.

Mentally and emotionally, I am finding this decision harder to deal with then what I thought it would be.  Most likely because the trainer I worked for in college screwed me over big time in the arrangement to train my first horse. The whole situation turned out to be a nightmare from start to finish. I need to remember that I am not a gullible 26 year old, just married, believing what someone tells me. Actually, I believe little of anything anyone tells me.

After talking with the trainer I’ve chosen I am developing a 60 day bootcamp for Z to prepare her for before she leaves in June to learn about riding:

* Roundpen. Not my favorite method anymore but will be used at the trainers. Z has been exposed to it and today we did a dry run. She knows walk, trot and turn in the RP – I want her to know canter by voice command and today, she took off bucking in protest and even got a rear! LOL! Oh boy, she  needs this bootcamp…

* Doublecheck her lunging knowledge in a large open arena. 

* Remind her what a saddle weight feels like. If I can find a junk saddle, free lunge her in the RP so she can get used to the weight at W-T-C.

* Bridling her. Started working her mouth today and I am thinking this will go easier then I thought. She was accepting of having her mouth handled.

* More work standing at the mounting block and feeling weight on her back. Would really like to get her walking about with riding weight before she leaves.

* Continue to work on her hind legs; sometimes still too reactive (continues at trainers)

* Doublecheck her standing still for fly spray and bathing (continues at trainers)

* Introduced crossties today and will continue. She already knows to stand still, tying and giving to pressure.

Now for the trainer I am developing a list of what I want accomplished the first 3 weeks (she comes home a week the trainer will be out of state).

* Stands still at the mounting block for mounting. Can be “tapped” over to line up to the mounting block (like Molly’s horses).

* Can be mounted from both sides

* Mounted: Walks and trots from leg pressure on both sides. Movement should not be restricted in any way – I am looking always for forward movement right now.

* Mounted: stops as soon as a rider slides or emergency dismounts off at a walk and trot.

* Canter work when she gets to it.

* Turns with rein pressure (not neck reining).

* More trailer training.

In the first 3 weeks, I want at least 12 rides on her before she comes home. The whole purpose for sending her off is to have someone do that initial work where she may become resistant – buck, rear, etc.. which I personally don’t want to cope with for a variety of reasons, primarily the chance of becoming physically injured.

What I don’t want at the trainers:

* side reins or draw reins

* mindless lunging or free lunging in the RP

* being forced into a frame

* too much groundwork (that I can do and most she is well on the way of accomplishing).

When she comes home my plan is to keep her going under saddle for another 6 months. I’m looking into a person to come out and work with me to do that as, again, I want a lot of road miles on this horse before I’m going to mount up – as well as would like to be down another 20 pounds.

I haven’t mentioned it yet to Molly, but if Z is going well by the fall, I was thinking about her coming out and introducing her to jumping as a dry run to see if she would be talented this direction. Or if not hugely talented, if she was shown in a breed show could at least do Hunter over jumps, in addition to the other classes. The more versatile she is, the better her chances of finding the right person if I decide to sell her.

Then a winter break of 60 days, and then in 2011 to start thinking about a show career for her with a youth rider (probably a lease arrangement) to start her exposure to what will most likely be an illustrous show career.

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