Friday, February 11, 2011

A Walking Lesson

We're trying to have Friday be the day that Robin gives me a lesson.  So today was the second lesson (last Friday I took advantage of good snow to go skiing and we had the lesson on Sunday).

When I went to get Bear out of the pasture he was not eating.  This might be a first.  He had his butt up the bale.  Robin thinks he might have been holding his spot so no other horses could get in there.

But he was willing to be haltered and brought inside.  And he stood wonderfully.  The ground work went really well, too.  Leading, backing, and flexing were all better than they were last week.  Bear seems to really be enjoying going to work again.

Bear, flexing like he means it.

 The lesson was going to focus on more intricate stuff at the walk, so I climbed on bareback.

Bear looking sturdy, before any potential discomfort set in.
This worked for a while, but neither Bear nor I were very comfortable.  Since I haven't been riding a lot lately I was not as relaxed as I could have been.  And Bear was moving around very quick and energetically (at first I was excited about his fast walking!).  It is possible my sharp butt bones dig into his back and make him a little uncomfortable.  We'll have to keep testing this theory out, though.

With a saddle on we both felt more comfortable.  Robin put us through some tight circle work (which calmed us both down), and then had us work on making the walk very slow and controlled and switching to fast, high energy walking.  This was very hard for us.  In the beginning I kind of wanted to stop because it was going so bad.  She told me to be consistent and persevere.  And she was right; I got more consistent and Bear got a lot better at responding.  He is a rather smart horse and really has no trouble picking up on things like this.  So I need to keep that in mind.

After our lesson Bear and I hung out and did some more grooming while Robin rode Steen.  He was great for her.  But I wasn't.  Not only could I give her no pointers, I couldn't even take a single picture.  So all we've got from today are shots of Bear and I.  I'll have to work on that next time.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday!

And no one was at the barn.  It was perfect.  We were hoping this would be the case because we planned on Robin giving me a little lesson.

But first we let the guys run around the arena.

After that, Bear stood like a dream for grooming and tacking.  He's been getting a little fidgety lately, mostly because his favorite snack is right next to where we tie him.  But today he was thrilled to stand.  No doubt the warm temps (around 30) had something to do with it.

Robin had us start with some simple groundwork.  Bear can be a little lazy, so we worked on leading while I varied my pace.  It was pretty good.

In the saddle he was super calm.  We followed the rail, crossed some PVC pipe, did figure eights, lots of stop and go, and then when Bear started to get tired we worked on keeping the pace up.  I thought he would resist more but he was actually very good at it.

So the lesson was a success.  We'll definitely have some more.  It really helps when I don't have to be the one deciding exactly what to do.  Then I can just focus on me directing Bear.  We're going to try to keep this up once a week or so.  Hopefully I'll see some nice progress.