Friday, September 10, 2010

Bear Back

After work, Robin and I headed out for quiet, Friday afternoon at the barn. But there were more people there than we expected. Usually we have the place to ourselves on Friday afternoons/evenings. Thankfully we slotted ourselves in between people leaving and arriving, so we weren't all trying to do the same thing at once.

Bear was excited to see me in the pasture. I gave him three days off, partially because I was sore from hitting the ground, and partially because I was just busy with life stuff. But it was nice to see that he missed me.

Right when we started tacking up I realized I was missing something. No headstall, bit, or reins. We had taken them home to repair some of the leather ties after the fall. We left the whole thing on the coat rack.

But we turned the less than ideal situation into a fun opportunity. I've been having a sore spot on my foot and wasn't looking forward to riding in stirrups. So I hopped on Bear bareback and used Steen's snaffle and mecate reins.

On our second test ride we tried out Bear with a snaffle. He wasn't too thrilled about it. But now he knows me and we've got a pretty good thing going. So we worked on flexing to the bit, following the rail and doing periodic small circles, and later on some tight figure-eights.

And for an older horse, he did remarkably well. At times he would get a little head tossy or stiff necked, but then he would always come around and flex very nicely. And through the course of the ride he got softer and more responsive with everything I asked of him. This is very encouraging news because I am not all that thrilled to be riding him in a tom-thumb. Those are a bit too harsh for my tastes. So with any luck, we'll be transitioning to a nice, loose ring snaffle in no time.

After the ride we all hung out in the arena. Bear was pretty funny about it. If I took a couple steps away, he'd step towards me. It is like his favorite position is to be just a foot away from me. Very good news for our relationship.

And when we put the guys back in the pasture, Robin and I stayed in the lounge and enjoyed ourselves an ice cold Coors. It was a very relaxing day at the barn.

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