Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Solo Ride

We had some brief storms this afternoon. Then it got rather nice out. There is a chance for some pretty heavy storms tomorrow, so after work today I decided to get out and see Bear.

Bear is off to the left.

The herd was leisurely grazing in the pasture. Again, Bear had no problem letting me shoo away the flies, scratch his neck, and put the halter on. He wasn't as excited about walking out of the pasture, as he stopped more than the two or so times he has been in the past. But I kept him going with some light taps on the butt and a few encouraging words.

Steen watched us from afar. He is the friendliest horse in the world who won't come right up to you.

Inside the arena Bear was great. I worried that he'd be nervous about not having another horse there (or anything, the barn was super quiet; just how I like it, really). But he wasn't worried in the slightest. He was so relaxed that he was falling asleep during the tacking up.

Whoever was there before me had watered the sand down, and I didn't really know what to expect from Bear on a solo ride, so I just hopped on in the arena. He was sluggish (from the nap, no doubt) but fine with it all. We did a long, slow warm-up. Then we trotted for a little while. His trot felt a whole lot better than it did over the weekend. I think it is a mix of being active again and getting used to me.

Then I pushed my luck a tad too far. I brought him outside with the hopes of walking down the grassy strip a little ways. He was still his super calm self, and I remounted with no problem, but then he was adamant about turning back towards the barn. I reined him pretty hard to get back where I wanted to go, but he would have none of it.

So then we just sat there for a minute. He was fine with that. Surprisingly relaxed really. I decided to try a few more times, but he always reverted to fidgeting, dancing, and turning where he wanted to go. With a bit more confidence I have no doubt we could have gone down the trail a ways, but perhaps going out alone is a lot to ask of a new horse in a new setting.

We did groundwork instead. I had to show him that I decided where his feet went, not him. We did some flexing, backing, yielding of the hindquarters, and a small amount of longing back in the arena. I wouldn't say he was good, but he knew enough to get by.

So all in all, it was a productive solo experience. It could have gone better, but now we also know what we have to work on.

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