Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lessons on the Strip

After yesterday's successful ride where Robin coached me through a few simple exercises, we decided to do more of the same. It was an even cooler and wetter day, and Bear was even further out in the pasture than he usually is. Everything else, though, was great.

Once inside, Bear was great with his feet. A lot of this improvement is no doubt him getting used to me, but he is also getting more flexible, too (despite the tightness when he turns right). Today he lifted his feet before I would even ask for them. And he'd patiently hold them up while I cleaned them out and then fumbled to put apple cider vinegar on them to keep the thrush at bay.

Out on the strip again, we started with some ground work. Robin did this part. She is far better than I am at asking horses to do things that they don't fully understand. Bear was pretty good for her, but he was often looking over at me. He was also visibly more relaxed when I took over and climbed on. I hope he will be equally as relaxed with Robin at some point, but I have to admit it is a pretty nice feeling when your horse likes you best.

Up on his back I just followed the fence and worked on the woahs. Only a few were so so, most were quite amazing. He would often stop on just the word and a slight raising of the reins, no pressure on his mouth.

From there we did big circles in both directions and then moved to doing spiraling circles down to a point in the center and then spiraling back out to the big circle. He was shockingly good at this on his left turns. But on the right turns, it was a tad too much. His circles were more like unequal pentagons, and he would try to get to the center too quickly because he knew he'd get a rest there. So I aborted that plan and just went back to larger circles on the right side. That worked Ok.

All in all it was a relaxing and non-dramatic ride, though Bear did have two little inexplicable spooks when he got too close to Robin at the center of the cirlce. They were good for my seat, and he always settled right back down.

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