Well, today was a busy day at Rancho Pampa! Each of us working students rode either 7 or 8 horses, and I ended up jumping four. The young horses are never jumped for a long time; the exercise is introduced, and as soon as the horses see it and get confident, the lesson is ended and the horses get to relax.
The main exercise today was a combination, a two stride to a one stride to a one stride. For the more experienced horses the grid was built up to about 1 m. The younger horses (and bumbling me on some of the older horses!) jumped it lower, but always the same thing was emphasized: rhythm, confidence, forwardness.
The great thing about running the same exercise on many horses is that you begin to understand the exercise better yourself, and each subsequent ride you can change and improve different things.
As I get more into the swing of things at the barn, I’m starting to enjoy a better familiarity with the different horses. You start to know their habits: who is a little girthy, which one loves to have his withers scratched, and who will escape from his blanket overnight if you don’t do up the straps just so. The barn goes from being 35 anonymous horses to being 35 distinct personalities!
Along with the usual horses in work, Rancho Pampa also got in four new youngsters to work with over the weekend, and their education started yesterday as well. I’m very excited to see their progress in the next few weeks, and crossing my fingers that the current rain goes away!
I’ve already learned so much in the past week; the learning curve has been so steep, that I swear I can actually feel my brain changing, like a rapid acceleration in a car!
Not only just about riding, but about Spanish and the country of Argentina itself as well… exploring it has been an adventure that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on further adventures at Rancho Pampa 🙂