Friday, October 1, 2010

Bear and the Bots

Wednesday I went out to ride with Robin and Steen. Things were nice, but Bear was a little bit off. He was not thrilled to be riding. He was just spacey. To get him out of it we did some easy stuff, then we did some thinking stuff, then we just did some plain old work, but none of it really worked.

I guess it was just an off day. But I also noticed that he had some stuff all over his legs. He's actually had it for a couple of weeks now, but it was a lot worse this time. Robin thought they were little bugs called bots, and a simple google search confirmed this.

So maybe the bugs had something to do with him feeling odd. Or maybe he just felt odd for some other reason. I didn't push him much, and now I'm working hard to get ride off the microscopic eggs attached to his legs. Today we did some of that while he grazed in the airlock. The nights have been cool, but the afternoons get warm and today the flies were happy to be out and bothering Bear. But at least he didn't mind me picking at his legs.

After the slow start, we went out to the strip to do some groundwork. We focused mainly on backing and coming. He got better at both. We mixed in some flexing, trotting on the line, and disengaging the hindquarters. He doesn't really get that last one. He'll do it nicely indoors when I need to shuffle him around something, but in a big open space he sees no need to disengage. We'll have to keep practicing.

The groundwork was good, though, because I could tell Bear was more responsive under saddle today. His woahs, backs, flexes, and starts were all better than they usually are. We worked on all those in between a couple of cones that I finally remembered to bring out to the strip. I'm not sure if they helped Bear, but they certainly gave me something to focus on.

After the ride we just hung out awhile. I couldn't believe that no one else was at the barn as it was a perfect sunny, warm, windless early fall day. So Bear and I enjoyed the time to ourselves. He's getting more and more curious about the things I do, like changing my shoes and getting drinks of water. He just wants to be a part of it. It's really nice; he's starting feel very much like my horse. Oh, and I finally got him to eat some apple core, though he might have just been trying to emulate Steen's enthusiasm for the treat.

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