Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Athlete!

I never thought Bear would start looking this fit.  It is rather amazing.  He is out in a 13 acre pasture with all you can eat grass, and he loves to eat.  It is all he does.  Other horses will take breaks, not Bear.  His only break from eating is when I pull him out to ride.  But we have been riding a lot lately.  We just finished off another solid block of four riding days in a row (I would have blogged about it sooner, but blogger was down!).  We loped for quite a few of those, too.

Here is a great shot of Bear looking large and fit just two weeks ago:

Dozing after a hard ride on May 1st. Compare to the side shots from the fall.
And here are some shots from Thursday's ride.  He is still nicely muscled, but his belly is noticeably trimmer, and I'm starting to look bigger on him.

Look at that lack of belly and hind leg reach!
All sweaty after a rather hard ride, and looking very young and fit.
The wonderful thing is that he feels great.  He is loping in a nice and relaxed manner, though mostly off the left lead.  Today we had a few problems with the right lead  where he had to make a turn on a slight up or downhill grade.  I'll have to look for some flatter ground to practice that.

He is also getting increasingly responsive.  Today I spent some time working on the leg yielding exercise that Robin has been working on with Steen.  It took a couple tries for me to be able to ask for it correctly, but when I did Bear executed it wonderfully.  I then applied similar leg cues to our figure-eight trots and I was able to make his circles much rounder and more consistent in size.  He was also bending laterally in a way he doesn't usually do.  Perhaps I just haven't been asking for all these things.

There was a bit of a pissy moment today when Robin and I tried to cool the guys down by practicing our pattern.  Bear was not happy being that close to Steen (which is odd, as they have been getting very close lately) and he would walk (and then trot) with his hind end sticking out towards his brother.  There were no kicks or anything like that, but the movement in Bear's hind quarters showed he wasn't all that happy with things.  I tried to force his butt back under me, but I couldn't quite do it.  So I made him work again and he went back to listening to me real fast.

It was another gorgeous weather day, and we were surprised to have the place to ourselves, so we took our time hanging out.  I got to get back in the pen and get some baby time.

He's getting bigger and friendlier, also his skin has darkened quite a bit, so I might be wrong about him being a Perlino.
And then I gave Bear his first shower.  Well, he had clearly had a shower before, but I had never given one to him.  I had sprayed Steen's legs off with the house, but I'd never fully hosed a horse down before.  Bear was super hot, so he loved it.  Steen on the other hand, well, he had to think about it.

We're going to give the guys a little break from riding now.  They definitely deserve it.  I'll be curious to see if Bear puts any weight back on during this time.

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