Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good and Bad

That is how the barn day felt today.  Things were probably mostly good, but there was some bad in there, too.  Here's the break down.

Good:  The saddle was great.  Yesterday Robin and I treated it with oil to supple up the fenders and various other parts and then dumped a bunch of baby powder into it to stop the squeaks.  When Robin said that is what you do, I didn't really believe it.  But then every page that came up on the Google search "how to stop a squeaky saddle" said to put baby powder in every crevice.  So we did.  I think I heard one tiny creak today, that was it.

Bad:  At 9 am on a Sunday the barn was crowded.  There was a lame horse, lots of noisy conversation, banging, horses getting ready for rides, and various other things happening.  It wasn't a big deal really, but usually early on a weekend we get the place to ourselves.  Perhaps we've been a bit spoiled.

Good:  Bear was super calm today.  He stood like a dream for grooming and tacking, and he was responsive during groundwork.  A bit slow (I think due to all the noise and distraction), but definitely better than Friday.

Bad:  Bear's stops.  Usually he stops on a dime.  Today it would take him three to four steps to go from his very slow walk to a stop.  I tried to work on this a lot today.  I'd ask for the stop firmly, it would take awhile to get it, and then I'd back him up a lot in hopes that it would get him thinking again, in general, and ideally thinking about going backwards would prepare him more for a stop.  But I don't think he stopped nicely once during the whole ride.

Good:  Getting back to the trot.  When I first asked Bear to trot he was great.  His speed was nice and relaxed, and I didn't have much contact on his mouth.  I also felt really good in the saddle.

Bad:  Continuing in the trot.  It deteriorated pretty quickly.  Robin and Steen were riding in the arena with us, and when they were about done with their ride they just calmly stood in the center of the arena for a bit while Bear and I trotted around them.  Bear didn't like this.  He kept veering off the rail in hopes of getting to stand in the middle with Steen.  I had to bring him back to the rail and that's when things started getting a little jerky.

Good:  Bear's half-passes.  OK, this wasn't really good as I didn't ask for it.  But at one point during our trotting Bear was zig zagging every which way to stay off the rail, and when I tried to get him back on it he went into the smoothest and prettiest little half-pass.  I wish I could have seen it.  I do know it felt good.

Bad:  More zig-zagging and head tossing in the trot.  I wasn't sure if he was uncomfortable or if it was the commotion or if he was a little sore or tired from all the riding this week, but Bear was not happy about me asking him to trot more.  We kept it up for just a bit longer (thought it was much shorter than Friday's trot session) and then I cooled him down for a while.  He was a little better during that time, but I still felt like he was just ready to be done.

And so that was our ride.  Definitely interesting, and overall not bad, but not as good as it could have been.  I think I'll give Bear a few days of rest and then see where he's at.

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