Monday, September 20, 2010

Consistancy and Improvement

Years ago I remember reading an article about training for cycling in which an exercise physiologist said that a person is always gaining or losing fitness, they are never static. The reality, of course, is that a person can maintain a certain level of fitness for a little while. But it really is only just a little while. A very short moment in time. I've come to think that a horse's level of refinement is somewhat similar. They are always gaining or losing refinement within their training.

Today Bear and I rode on the strip again. Robin and Steen kept us company, but they did their own thing. Bear and I worked on our super relaxing walking routine of woahs, circles, spirals, and figure-eights. It was hot and sunny (a whole 25 degrees warmer than yesterday), and Bear was a little lethargic. But he was still improving with the exercises.

After a very thorough warm-up, I decided to work on some long, fenceline trotting. He perked right up and even seemed to enjoy it. His trot is big and floaty, and I'm still learning how to ride it comfortably, but he was more than willing to check his speed against some light contact from the snaffle. In fact, he hasn't shown a single moment of discomfort in the mouth/head area since we switched bits.

Once we had gotten hot and sweaty from some trotting we went back to some simple circles to cool down. Robin and Steen had already ended their ride, so I chatted with Robin while Bear and I circled around those two. He was energetic and extremely responsive to the pattern and the small cues I was giving him through the reins and my sitbones.

The only downside to the ride was the slight lethargy in the middle, but it really wasn't a problem at all. And after the ride we worked on some leg stretches to help loosen up Bear. He seemed to take to them pretty well. His hind is a tad tight, but I think he almost enjoyed the stretches. I'll have to continue lightly doing them and see how they go.

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