Our junior interns will be posting regularly on the LOPE blog. Below is the first post in the series (by Eliza Jones). Eliza is committed to good horsemanship. She has ridden in multiple clinics with Buck Brannaman. Her horse (Jammer) has benefited greatly from Eliza’s dedication, patience and skill as a rider and steward. Welcome, Eliza!
Guest Blogger: Eliza Jones
My name is Eliza Jones, and I am a tenth grader at Headwaters School in downtown Austin, Texas. Each year, students complete and individual project on a topic of their interest. In my case, I chose to interview professional horsemen. One of my interviews was with Taylor Simons of Lonestar Stables in Westlake. Taylor is the barn manager there, and gave me valuable insight into becoming an instructor and working at a successful stable. Some of the most important advice I gained from Taylor was to set goals for yourself. She shared with me the positive outcomes of setting challenging but reasonable goals with horses. It is important to push yourself, but to also keep the goals from being too challenging to accomplish at the time. This is something I loved to hear, and it is very relevant in my work with Lynn at LOPE.The most memorable and significant piece of information that Buck gave me was to try everything offered to me that involved horses. Whether that be working at a ranch in the country, or at a local Hunter/Jumper barn, any experience is good and valuable.
My second interview was with world-renowned horseman, Buck Brannaman. This was one of the most nerve-wracking but rewarding moments I’ve ever had! I have had the privilege of riding in Buck’s clinics for the past three years, and finally got the opportunity to speak with him at length during a barbecue dinner at a participant’s home. The most memorable and significant piece of information that Buck gave me was to try everything offered to me that involved horses. Whether that be working at a ranch in the country, or at a local Hunter/Jumper barn, any experience is good and valuable. Even if you don’t learn what you want to do with horses, you’ll learn what you don’t have any interest in doing. Buck told me to be around as many horsemen as possible, and to ride as many horses as possible. I have truly taken this advice to heart, and I am fortunate to be able to intern at LOPE, to broaden my horizons and grow myself as a horseman.
My Goals for My Horse Jammer
I very much value a confident horse who is willing to trust me even in uncomfortable situations. My horse Jammer has gotten significantly better in this area, as he used to have a very spooky and flighty personality, but there is still great room for improvement. I aim to better my skills in supporting an insecure horse, and I would like to learn how to better direct the large amounts of energy that Jammer has when he is scared of something, both in and out of the saddle.
Secondly, I have been doing a lot of work on directing Jammer with just my legs, and it is going well so far, but I would like to be able to guide with more leg in all gaits. We are having great success with this at the walk, and it is not half bad at the trot, but I aim to have it solid in all gaits within a month or two.Jammer and I have been doing work with refining our simple changes in hopes that by the end of the summer/beginning of fall this year we could possibly begin flying lead changes.
Jammer and I have been doing work with refining our simple changes in hopes that by the end of the summer/beginning of fall this year we could possibly begin flying lead changes. The simple changes have been coming along well, and I have also been working some outside flexion while loping circles. In this area, I will need guidance as I have never ridden a horse capable of flying lead changes, and I do not necessarily have the best idea of how to get this working with a horse. I would also find it greatly beneficial to learn how to counter-canter better. We have done this a few times but I need more clarification on how to perfect it, as I know it is important to prevent anticipation of lead changes.