Friday, March 25, 2011

Continuing to Trot

The pasture horses got some nice, dry bales of hay.  When I went out to get Bear he was standing with his side up against a bale, and he was covered in hay.  I wish I took a picture of it.  When he saw me coming he took a half-hearted bite out of the bale and then waited for my approach.  Still, he seemed excited to get the halter on and follow me out of the pasture.

Grooming was good and we moved on to some groundwork.  From the get go he was fidgety and not paying much attention to me.  He started walking in circles and so we just went with circle work.  He was moving and bending nicely, but he was not stopping or being very respectful of me.  So we upped the pace, and I tried to challenge him with more change ups.  Then he got uncomfortable.  I had already put the saddle on (normally this isn't a problem), and it seems the new one might bounce a bit without a rider up there. 

So we pulled it off, slowed things down, and went back to yielding the hind and fore-quarters and backing.  He calmed right down and started paying a little more attention to me.  It could have been better, but I was happy with calm.  There is also no doubt that he had an overfull tummy.  He pooped when he came in, he pooped at the beginning of ground work, and then he pooped two more times while I was riding him.  At least we know his digestive system is working.

Under saddle he was good right from the start.  He followed the rail nicely and gave me some really excellent tight turns.

During figure-eights over the PVC pipe he would get both really good (he learns patterns super fast) and really lazy (tripping on the pipe and cutting corners).  We perked him up with some trotting.  He was quite good with this, even better than Wednesday.  At times I would hold a medium amount of contact on his mouth, and he was fine with this.  He'd slow down a bit and bring his back up into the trot (I only know this because Robin and Heather were giving commentary from the sidelines).  Sometimes I even had him on a rather loose rein.

We kept up the trotting for a little over 15 minutes, with intermittent walking breaks.  This is possibly one of the best rides I've had on Bear.  He stayed on the rail quite willingly, he was very responsive to the neck reining, and he seemed to enjoy the work at the trot.  Sure, he got tired, but he was very much connected to me and what I was asking him to do.  Kind of surprising given how checked out he was with the groundwork.

After the ride he stood like a dream and was still paying very close attention to me.  He only inched into the storage space for chopped hay once, but I backed him up and told him he'd explode if he ate any more just yet.  He understood.  The goal for the next few weeks is to increase time at the trot and get him controlling his own speed.  Should be fun.  Oh, and the new saddle was wonderful.  Both for me and Bear.

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