So... I finally found just the right place for Jasper to "go to school"! My brother helped me haul him up to a trainer in Centerville, about an hour and a half ride. He's been at Rose Haven Quarter Horses for a week now and last evening Jaxson, Madelyn and I went up for a visit, a requirement that Rose Haven has when agreeing to work with your horse. I've been a bit nervous that he would be a drop-out, expelled or in constant time-outs. I mean, think about it, I buy Jasper as a yearling and he's now 8 years old. All that's been asked of him is an occasional pony ride at a church or birthday party. Those rides are all done by leading him around with a lead rope. Other than those small events, Jasper has just been treated almost like a big dog. Fussed over, loved up, and fed! Suddenly, Jasper's been given a job...
Well, I have to tell you, I was so thrilled to see Ricky, the trainer, tack him up (getting him to take the bit is an area he needs worked on with) and jump on. Fortunately, Ricky's not a big guy and so he's able to work directly with Jasper... right from his back. He put Jasper through the works; walking, stopping, standing, going around obstacles, backing up... I was amazed at Jasper's progress in just one week's time.
In the meantime, Jaxson decided that there would be NO way he was going to ride Jasper and so he climbed back into the car and locked all 4 doors. That's right... and the keys were inside. I finally convinced him that no one was going to make him ride if he didn't want to and he emerged although he clung to me like manure clings to your boots!
Madelyn had agreed to climb up on Jasper even though I could tell she was very hesitant. So, after Ricky had shown me what Jasper had learned, he changed saddles and adjusted the stirrups so that Maddy could sit on him comfortably. That's when I noticed that Madelyn
had on clunky flip flops... NOT the proper footwear for riding, that's for sure! The flip flops made it nearly impossible for her to use her heels to urge Jasper to move. So, I encouraged her to just kick them off and go barefoot. I wouldn't normally suggest that but since they were in a controlled environment, I figured it'd be okay.
Okay... here's the exciting part... After Ricky led Madelyn around for a wee bit, he took her into a small round pen and let her get the hang of the reins herself. Before too long, Maddy was back out of the pen and riding all by herself in the larger paddock area. I can't tell you how big my smile was but I know I probably looked like a total goober, grinning from ear to ear!
Jaxson also decided that he wanted to ride. Yep... that's right! The little guy who had locked himself in the car now wanted to climb aboard the pony! He got to the point of begging and so we threw him up and Ricky led him around. Jaxson was feeling pretty good about it all even though we wouldn't let him go totally on his own. He's just not quite big enough to handle Jasper, especially at this point of his training.
We ended up having Madelyn get back on, after much pleading on her part. She actually kicked him up into a trot a couple of times! I literally had to be stern to make her get off when it was time to go. She's got the horse bug for sure and I can hardly wait until Jasper gets farther along in his training so that he's ready to come home and take Madelyn trail riding with me! That's my goal!
Xavier wants to go next time so it seems like next week I'll have 3 tag-alongs! But, it's a sweet feeling for me. This is what I've been hoping for ever since Maddy was wee. Ricky and Connie, his wife, were teasing me that I'll be buying more ponies before I know it because they'll all want to ride! Well, I don't have room for more but if I could, I would!! LOL!!!
I can hardly wait to see how Jasper does after another full week at Rose Haven!!!