Monday, May 9, 2011

Going Slow

When we first arrived at the barn we had to visit baby Whisper again.  I snapped quite a few photos while Robin got in the pen and gave the little guy a bunch of pets.  I'm sure many of our rides will start out this way.

He is curious about so many things, including the sound of the camera shutter.
Robin and I both got in a lot of good pets, and he never shied away from us.
In the pasture the herd was hanging out in the low point trying to stay out of the wind.  Both Bear and Steen looked noticeably bigger.  This weekend we gave them a couple days off as we were in Chicago visiting my parents.  The weather was nice and warm, so the grasses are coming in very strong.  They both probably ate the whole weekend.

The guys, looking very full.
As soon as I climbed on Bear I knew I was correct about him getting bigger.  My hips felt super tight and stretched out (of course, it didn't help that I spent much of Saturday and Sunday in a car).  I was so tight that I didn't even feel relaxed at the walk.

Thankfully Bear was very relaxed.  We were out on the strip and the herd was a little bit closer than they were on Friday, but it was also extremely windy and warm.  I thought Bear was happy to see me when I pulled him out of the pasture, and continued to be in a good mood as he felt willing and attentive under saddle as well.  So we walked around for a while just so both of us could loosen up.

When we moved into the trot I was only feeling a little bit better.  He was moving nicely, but I was having a hard time getting into the rhythm.  We would go back and forth between the walk and trot and things did improve for me, but I didn't feel like riding very long.

We went back to walking and by this time I was feeling a little better.  I decided to push him out towards the far end of the strip and just work on moving my hips with him and staying relaxed while we left Steen and Robin behind.  He was great.  He was paying so much attention to me that at one point I was shifting around in the saddle and I pushed my stirrups forward (like I do for a 'woah') and he just stopped.  I had to give him some praise for that, even though I didn't mean to ask for it.

In the end we stood around for a few minutes while Robin and I chatted about our rides.  Both guys were great for this.  Robin asked for a few disengages of the hindquarters under saddle and I decided to try it, too.  I've asked Bear for this before, but I haven't been able to get it.  Robin was helpful in that she kept an eye on his foot movement and I was able to either keep asking or release the pressure based on how well he was doing.

The first one was awful, but after that he really started to pick them up.  We got three very good disengages in.  I'll be excited to work on this with both sides later on.  I think it could be a movement that is really good for his strength and flexibility.

So it wasn't an exciting ride at all, but with so much concentration at the faster gaits lately, it was nice for both of us to relax into the walk and work on a few things.

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