Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's Official

I own Bear, and I now have the paperwork to prove it. We waited a few weeks before sending it in just to make sure he was a keeper.

Friday was a busy day for Robin, so I went out to the barn for a solo-ride. As it was the end of the week, I was a little tired, but I perked up once I got Bear. He was really excited to see me and eager to ride. I just went with the bareback pads since I'm trying to ride without a saddle at least once a week to keep working on my seat.

The mounting was easy again; Bear doesn't seem to mind at all if I jump around him a few times and then leap up onto his back. When we started riding he was super responsive and attentive. I think part of it was that he was just having a good day, and the other part of it was Bear couldn't be distracted by Steen.

Bear was doing so well I was starting to think about walking a little ways into the soybean field to see how things would go when it was just the two of us. But before I could decide he had a little half spook and jumped into a trot right when I was turning him left. Last time I rode him in the pads he was a little agitated and I think the girth might have been too tight. This time I left it a little looser.

So when he turned sharply the pads started slipping. I tried my best to hang on, but I think the slipping worried him even more, so instead of slowing down he just got a little more agitated and moved off faster. I slid off and hit the ground with my arm and hip, and he kept trotting off a bit. That's fall number three for me.

When I walked up to him he seemed apologetic. We did a few little groundwork drills, but I could see he was calm and not worried about anything, so I hopped back on. He was a little less attentive than he was in the beginning, and since I had hit the ground once already I didn't want to push things. So we kept it easy and brief before going in for grooming and chopped hay.

Saturday was another gorgeous day, but we took the day off. My body was sore, and I was happy to lounge around and read. Then I raked leaves for awhile and that helped loosen my body up a bit. But there was no way we could skip both weekend days, so late this morning both Robin and I went to see the guys.

They were both great coming out of the pasture and attentive during grooming to the point of almost being mischievous. We thought it was a pretty good sign.

On the strip they were both very good going through the warmup, then our friend Gay came out on her bay Doc, and the three of us walked off onto the trails. There was a tractor in the soybean field, so we skirted that and went off to some of the areas neither Bear nor I had been to since early September.

There were a few mini-starts from Steen and Doc while walking through the machine shed/silo/tractor area, but other than that, everyone was great. Steen was in super fast walking mode, and Bear was actually doing his best to keep up. I think he was feeling good, and he was taking the downhills a lot faster, too.

On the way back Steen got a little excited to be going home. Robin and I had already decided we were going to do a little extra work on the strip, and this was perfect for him. While Robin put Steen through a more rigorous routine, Bear and I used the cone set up to practice a few things and settle down. In the end it was a really great ride.

In head news, Bear got a new halter. We found a super great deal on a used leather halter. It is dark brown and wonderfully supple. It fits him much better than the black one, and he loves it (really, just like Steen he'll push his head into it like he can't wait to have it on).

He also loves chopped hay.

The bummer is his flymask is gone. A few days ago we noticed it was missing, and we have not been able to find it. The pastures are too big and the wind is perhaps too strong. So it looks like he'll be back in the leopard print.

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