Tuesday, October 26, 2010

R and R

Bear and I just had 8 days off of riding. I was in Arizona celebrating Jessie and Susie's wedding, and Bear was just in the pasture. The day before we left we had the chiropractor look at him. Yes, it does sound a little crazy, but she was very good. She confirmed that Bear was sore in all the spots we thought he was, then she proceeded to manipulate his legs and get some big hip pops. Finally she demonstrated a few stretches and exercises for us to keep doing, and that was it.

Unfortunately I was at work during the appointment, so Robin took care of him. It sounds like he was a little skeptical about it all, but he didn't give anyone a hard time. The chiro said we should give him a few days off before resuming our normal riding routine, but we were going to be gone awhile, so that was easy.

Arizona was quite nice. The temps were actually not a whole lot different than Iowa, but that is only because we have stayed so unseasonably warm here. The sun, though, was noticeably more intense.

I spent some time hanging out with the Stephen horses, Jak and Rojo, but I didn't ride this trip. We did get Jessie's new brother in law Simon up on Jak. Having come all the way from England he was not fully prepared, so I loaned him my Wranglers.

Jak was his usual self, quiet and slightly difficult for a newbie. He would mostly just decide to not listen to the neck reining. But Simon was pretty good, he stayed calm, stuck with it, and Jak improved. Simon had a blast.

Simon and Jak, with Robin instructing amidst the Catalina Mountains.

I'll have some not-highly-exciting video coming soon, including some bareback trotting.

The video is much more exciting than the onlookers would have you believe.

Today we got back into town. I had a busy afternoon at work and then dashed out to the barn for the farrier visit. It was a cool and exceptionally windy day. When we stepped out of the barn Steen saw us right away, whinied, and ran up to the gate. Bear looked up, and before we knew it he was running to the gate with the whole herd in tow (Bear showing us his nice, relaxed lope).

Robin let Steen into the airlock. Others tried to follow but she shooed them off a bit. Bear quietly made his way to the gate but felt a tad crowded. He pinned his ears at the others to get a little room, paused to nibble at some normally unreachable grass, and then let me halter him and lead him out.

Inside things were rather frantic. People were riding, trimming, grooming, and just taking up space. The horses were a tad keyed up, probably from the wind.

I proceeded to groom Bear a bit while I held his lead rope. Initially he tried to eat a lot of stray hay, but then he calmed right down. Unlike Steen, he was super clean, so I didn't have to do much. His coat is also looking really good. It is bright brown and getting very thick and soft.

After the grooming we did a few pre-trim stretches. I could tell he was noticeably more flexible than he was after our last ride. Perhaps the chiro did some good? When I held him for Duke he was a tad pushy at first. He never moved his feet, but he'd nudge me with his head or try to sniff noses with the stall horses. When Duke did his hind legs, though, Bear was perfect. I asked Duke to go slow since Bear is tight in the hind end. Duke obliged, but Bear was fine with everything. He even seemed to relax into the deep stretch.

We finished by giving them a quick snack and then put them out to pasture. Steen walked off first, and then Bear put in a nice trot to catch up. I had never seen Bear run around the pasture at all, and today I saw both a lope and a trot. I'm thinking the chiro really was a big help.

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