Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back Indoors

This has been an exceptionally cold and wet spring.  Today we were planning on braving the chill and riding outside, but since the barn was completely empty, we wimped out and stayed in.  It was plenty comfortable as the last couple rides were outside.  And the new magnesium stuff in the sand is keeping things moist.  So there was not a speck of dust in the air.

Bear was happy to see me and pretty good for all the grooming and pre-ride stuff.  In the arena he was more than happy to stand, follow the rail, turn nice figure-eights on leg cues, and give me great stops.  It was excellent.  As the ride went on he did get a little more distracted.  I think it was the open door outside the arena, construction sounds, and the tractor in the arena.  There might have been a few other culprits.  It was odd, though.  Bear is not inclined to be distracted.

When we moved into some trotting he was moving very comfortably and relaxed.  I think he was giving me a definitive jog at times.  He was not inclined to drop it, either.  But then as we went along, he started dropping it in the right turns, just like Sunday.  He then did it once or twice in the left turns, but I think that was laziness.  In the right turns he was not moving great.  He would stiffen up some and kind of jerk his body through them.  Then he'd pick up a nice trot for the straightaways. 

I moved our pattern so we could keep the right turns less tight.  That worked a little bit, but he was always inclined to make them tighter on his own.  Then we just trotted right circles and he got increasingly uncomfortable with each loop.  To the left he was great.  We tried following the rail to the right and he was OK in the beginning, but then he got progressively worse as we continued.  To the left, again he was pretty all right.

I decided to cool him down and work on a few bending drills at the walk.  He was the normal, relaxed Bear I've come to expect, which makes me think he was not trying to take advantage of me.  I also felt very secure through all his herky jerky motions, so I don't think I was giving him much of a window of insecurity.

We finished things up as Robin loped Steen around us.  He looked quite good, and she was riding bareback, which was fun to watch.

After I untacked Bear and groomed him, he was extremely chilled out.  I poked around on his back and found a decent sized knot on the right side.  He didn't like it when I pushed on it.  I lightened my touch and started to massage through it.  He really started to enjoy that.  After a few minutes it was feeling quite a bit better.  Hopefully it is just a little old-horse stiffness.  Or it possibly could have resulted from his chiro adjustment on Friday.  Either way, I'll continue to massage that spot and work him slowly.  And despite this minor set back, we still had a pretty great ride.

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